Political Conventions Led to $360 Million for Philadelphia and Cleveland

Between accommodations and entertainment, media, staffers and convention-goers contributed an estimated $360 million in direct spending during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, according to a projection from U.S. Travel Association.

Spending was split equally between The Republican National Convention in Cleveland July 18-21 and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia July 25-28—both of which benefited from $180 million. Indirect spending pushed the total up to $600 million in economic output, with $300 million for each convention. This includes 1,800 jobs created in each region as a result.

“You’re going to hear a lot from the candidates about their plans to create jobs,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “It might give some people pause, but one of the easiest ways to do that is to hold more conventions. The economic activity associated with these kinds of events is extremely compelling, and we aim to make sure our policymakers understand that.”

Expenditures such as lodging, meals, transportation, general retail, spending by each host committee and funding for security were considered in the economic predictions. U.S. Travel Association generated convention impact figures using hotel data provided by travel research firm STR, as well as other travel and economic statistics.

During the conventions, the national travel organization shared the message that travel is strong economic driver with an advertising campaign targeted at convention attendees. Ads were placed a Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) and in Amtrack Acela trains in the Northeast Corridor.

“Conventions and in-person meetings are an absolutely vital creator of accessible, good-paying, un-exportable jobs in this country. An effective way to remind our policymakers of that is to make sure the message is front and center while they’re all in one place,” said Dow.

Combined Numbers for Both Conventions:

Total projected attendees: 100,000-120,000
Delegates: 10,000-12,000
Media members: 30,000-36,000
Other visitors and participants: 60,000-72,000
Average daily trip spending per attendee: $300
Hotel/other lodging room nights: 148,500
Total lodging revenues: $33 million

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