DNC boosted Union County economy

Jan. 29, 2013 @ 05:17 PM

The Democratic National Convention, held in September, brought about $163.6 million to the area. 

Union County, which is part of the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) represented in the study, benefited from the use of hotels. Occupancy rates reached 92 percent in the MSA, according to the study released Monday. Daily room rates rose to around $220 a night. 

"It was our best month since we've had the hotel occupancy tax," Pete Hovanec, Monroe communications and tourism officer, said. He added that the occupancy tax has been around for about ten years. 

September 2012 brought in $34,306 through the occupancy tax. Compared to September 2011 when the tax brought in $29,075.

The tax covers tourism projects, the air show and other projects that promote and bring visitors to Monroe, Hovanec explained. 

"From an occupancy standpoint, we were very pleased," Hovanec said. "I know we benefited well from it on the tourism side."

Hovanec heard from hotel managers that the guests went to local restaurants and some attractions. It is hard to quantify that because they do not keep records.

"I know a lot of the folks who were staying at the two hotels used a lot of restaurants and stuff like that," Hovanec said. "They definitely were out and about in Monroe."

The Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport also played a large role in the convention. 

"We also saw some financial benefit at the airport as well," Hovanec said. "We had lots of aircraft based out here."

The aircraft would have been charged for hangar space, fuel and other expenses. 

Hovanec was pleased with the exposure the convention brought to the City of Monroe and its airport. 

The three-day convention brought about 35,000 people to the area and consumed 61,246 hotel room nights in the region, according to the impact study. 

The total direct spend was $91 million, with visitors and attendees spending $35.9 million.