Visit KC, the Kansas City area’s convention marketing agency, says it expects an economic infusion worth more than $50 million from seven major, newly booked conventions through 2020.
That figure will build on local revenues from previously announced Veterans of Foreign Wars conventions in 2018 and 2022. VFW conventions usually attract about 10,000 participants who are expected to pump about $10.3 million into the local economy.
Next year’s VFW event, scheduled for July, will coincide with the centennial anniversary of the end of World War I.
But Visit KC CEO Ronnie Burt has warned that a citizen group trying to block funding plans for a downtown convention center hotel is jeopardizing such future bookings. He says that to compete for large bookings, Kansas City needs the proposed 800-room Hyatt Hotel next to Bartle Hall.
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“To continue to attract large meetings and remain competitive with other cities like Nashville, Indianapolis and others, we must continue to invest in our city,” Burt said Thursday afternoon, adding that the convention hotel “is just one step in that continued direction. The expanded streetcar line and single-terminal airport are other key pieces to the puzzle.”
Because of the convention hotel delays, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners said it is looking elsewhere for its 2020 convention, which it had considered for Kansas City.
Economic impact from conventions is estimated based on attendance, hotel room nights and participants’ expected spending.
Visit KC announced these bookings this week, some of which could be affected by the convention hotel delays:
Beginning in 2019, Triple Crown Sports has committed to hold its Volleyball NIT President’s Day Weekend event for five years. Annual attendance is forecast at 8,500, with a five-year spending total of about $24.5 million.
USA Elite Select will hold its World Fastpitch Championship this summer, bringing in 10,000 people who are expected to spend $7.6 million.
National Main Street Center, a network that deals with community preservation and revitalization, will attract 1,600 attendees to its annual conference in March 2018, valued at $1.6 million.
Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association will hold a May 2019 reunion for about 1,000 participants, producing an economic impact of $1.2 million.
The National Baptist Convention USA has booked its National Congress for June 2020. About 20,000 people are expected to account for $13 million in spending.
The National Association of Sports Commissions will have its Sports Event Symposium in April 2020 for about 1,000 attendees, producing $1.1 million in economic impact.
The American Angus Association will bring about 1,500 participants in November 2020, who’ll add about $1.6 million to local coffers.
The new bookings come on the heels of the NCAA’s announcement last month that it will bring six sports championships to the metro area over the next four years.