Cleveland appears to be the city to beat among those being visited by the site selection team for the Republication National Convention, according to media reports Tuesday.
If that city is selected by the Republican party for its political national convention in 2016, it will have some kind of an economic impact to the region, but how much is unknown.
“The economic impact on the entire region will be $200 million to $300 million. I don't have a way to break it down by city/region any further than that,” said Scott Peacock, spokesman for Positively Cleveland, the city's convention and visitors bureau. “I would expect Sandusky to pick up some visitations from either delegates or media.”
Delegates will probably be focused on the immediacy of the political action during the convention and remain in Cleveland during that time, said Joan Van Offeren, director of Lake Erie Shores and Island East.
The opportunity for Sandusky's windfall will come before or after the convention, she said.
“We need to make the delegates aware we are here,” she said. “Our opportunity is to extend their visit before or after.”
Cedar Point and the islands present the best opportunities for convention goers to spend a few days in the Sandusky region, either before or after the event, she said.
“I certainly believe people will want to experience our region,” Van Offeren said.
Our area is more than ready to host an influx of visitors, said John Moldovan, Erie County Economic development director.
That means ringing cash registers for area businesses.
“We have over 5,000 hotel rooms in the area, golf courses, the islands are unique,” Moldovan said. “We have Cedar Point, they are not going to see Cedar Point in Denver.”
Cedar Point works with tourism and convention centers to promote tourism throughout Ohio, including Positively Cleveland.
“But we have not spoken with them specifically on this,” said Bryan Edwards, spokesman for Cedar Point about the convention.
The amusement park operator would be able to handle any possible increase in attendance with its many restaurants and hotel rooms, including the 600 hotel rooms of the Breakers which will be completely renovated by the time of the convention, Edwards said.
“Even politicians like to ride coasters,” Edwards said. “We could have lots of fun with the convention.”