DNC Impact: $91 million to Charlotte - | WBTV Charlotte

DNC Impact: $91 million to Charlotte


We've been waiting for months now to see the results from the DNC Economic Impact Study.

The study, performed by Tourism Economics, looked at the numbers and determined the economic impact of the 2012 Democratic National Convention in the Charlotte region. For purposes of the study, the region includes Mecklenburg, Gaston, York, Cabarrus, Union, and Anson counties.

Results were released Monday, and showed a total economic impact of $163.6 million. Comparatively, the DNC 2008 Economic Impact study for Denver showed an impact of $266 million.

According to the study's finding, 35,000 people attended the three-day convention in September 2012:

  • 6,500 delegates
  • 15,000 media
  • 13, 500 non-delegates and visitors

There were nearly 1,200 events held for state delegations, political interest groups, policy discussion and roundtables, trade associations, and media organizations.

Direct spending accounted for $91 million. That breaks down as follows:

  • Visitors and Attendees: $35.9 million
  • Host organizations: $42.2 million
  • Media: $0.7 million
  • Security: $20 million total, or $19.5 million excluding lodging

If you do the math, you'll notice that equals $98.8 million or $98.3 million if you exclude security lodging. But the study says total direct spending equaled $91 million.

How is that possible?

Call it displacement. It is used to reflect the economic activity that would have occurred if the DNC hadn't been in Charlotte.  The study figured that number at ($7.3 million). To get that number, the study used the following criteria:

  • Smith Travel Data analyzed to determine visitor spending that didn't occur (spending that usually would occur without a convention in town)
  • 35,700 displaced visitor room nights
  • 50% of the estimated 79,000 Uptown workers were assumed to reduce food and retail spending by $15 each for five days

Now, if you look at the $98.3 million direct spending number less the displacement ($7.3 million), you'll find the $91 million direct spending number presented by the study.

Visitor spending is included in the direct spending number. According to the study's finding, the average person stayed 4.2 days and spent an average of $235 each day.

The breakdown:

  • Food & Beverage: $4.8 million
  • Recreation: $3.5 million
  • Retail: $2.7 million
  • Local transportation: $0.9 million

Uptown hotel occupancy rates reached 98%. Average daily room rates peaked at $311. Among the six counties studied, occupancy reached 92%, with the average room rates hitting $220.

A total of 61,246 hotel room nights were used, accounting for $22.6 million.

Induced and Indirect Spending accounted for $72.6 million. That number includes money we won't see right away, but which is expected to have a positive future impact. For example: the upgrades to Time Warner Cable Arena and the stadium, as well as people employed by various DNC-related businesses.

At the press conference where the findings were released, Mayor Foxx said the Republican National Convention, Olympics, and Super Bowl are "within reach" of Charlotte. Foxx then added, that Charlotte might lack infrastructure for those events but over time, it could be possible.

The study cost $25,000. It was commissioned and funded by the City of Charlotte, Charlotte Chamber, Charlotte Center City Partners, Charlotte Regional Partnership, and Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.

Tourism Economics performed the study. It is an Oxford Economics research firm specializing in tourism economic impact studies that combine visitor surveys and industry data.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department Deputy Chief Harold Medlock told WBTV that his department donated about $4 million in equipment to police departments from across the country who came to help.

Medlock presented the findings of an independent report to Charlotte City Council members, illustrating strengths and weaknesses of CMPD's role during the DNC.

The report pointed out that CMPD saw "overlap and redundancy of work" with respect to planning committees. It also noted that the department could have done a better job with tracking officer assignments.

The same report noted that CMPD excelled in "Command and Control," and "personnel recruitment." Medlock told WBTV the report was compiled by CNA Associates.

"We planned for the worst and the best actually happened in this event," Medlock said.

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