Democratic National Convention Creates Lasting Impact on Charlotte Region

January 28, 2013 3:23 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The 2012 Democratic National Convention (DNC) held in Charlotte, N.C., in September 2012 was the single largest event in the city’s history, producing an equally impressive economic impact of $163.6 million. Results were shared today by Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx along with the partner organizations that funded the study: the City of Charlotte, Charlotte Chamber, Charlotte Center City Partners, Charlotte Regional Partnership and Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.

Hosted by the Queen City Sept. 4 – 6, 2012, the DNC drew approximately 35,000 delegates, media and visitors. The outcome resulted in a historic high for the most net positive economic impact ever produced by a single Charlotte event. $91 million represented in direct convention-related spending and $72.6 million in indirect and induced spending combine to calculate the $163.6 economic impact total. The study takes into account a six-county region or Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Anson, Cabarrus, Gaston, Mecklenburg and Union counties in North Carolina and York County in South Carolina were a part of the defined geographic area.

“The results of this report reaffirm what we as Charlotteans already know—that the 2012 Democratic National Convention had a tremendously positive impact on our city and our region,” Mayor Foxx said. “Not only did it inject millions of dollars into our local economy, it exposed our community to millions of people around the world and put Charlotte on an international stage. Thanks to the work of thousands of people and many partner organizations, the convention continues to be hailed as one of the best ever and a major turning point that will continue to pay dividends for our city for years to come.”

Lodging, security spending by government entities, food and beverage, media production, space rentals and construction were among the leading sources of direct expenditures. DNC events included more than 108 speakers at Time Warner Cable Arena and nearly 1,200 other meetings of state delegations, political interest groups, policy discussions and roundtables, trade associations and media organizations.

The week also produced occupancy highs with rates at 92% and average daily room rates reaching $220 throughout the MSA. The overall length of stay by delegates and non-delegates averaged 4.2 days with an estimated $235 spending per day.

In addition to the monetary effects on the regional economy, a variety of positive impacts were felt in a number of other areas:

  • Charlotte Area Transit System’s (CATS) LYNX Blue line experienced its highest multi-day average ridership ever during the three days of the DNC, transporting an average of 32,708 passengers per day. That figure is more than double the average daily ridership of roughly 15,000.
  • Approximately 61,246 hotel rooms were booked throughout the Charlotte MSA in conjunction with the DNC.
  • Sales tax receipts on hotel rooms and sales at food and beverage establishments increased by 38% in September compared with the same month in 2011.
  • Charlotte/Douglas International Airport hit a record with 26,000 passenger departures the Friday following the Convention on Sept. 7, 2012.
  • Among the 35,000 attendees were 15,000 members of the media that traveled to cover the convention. Thousands of national and international journalists reported from Charlotte, garnering significant awareness and media coverage for the destination.
  • More than 9,000 volunteers were utilized over the course of the convention by the Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee.

The journey to the DNC was a citywide initiative nearly two years in the making, from the initial bid to the event execution. It came together with significant help from Charlotte’s public and private sectors, host organizations and support from state and federal government. Beyond the direct financial effects that resulted in an unprecedented economic impact and the thousands of media outlets that elevated the region’s reputation nationally and internationally, the DNC also served as a valuable business and economic development platform.

The economic impact study was prepared

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by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics research firm that has conducted more than a hundred studies of this kind using visitor surveys and industry data. Founder and Managing Director Adam Sacks led the effort. Specific impacts described in this report were derived using the IMPLAN model created by MIG Inc., formerly the Minnesota IMPLAN Group, which provides Social Accounting Matrices and Multiplier Models of local economies in the form of software and region-specific data.

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