The recently expanded Indiana Convention Center appears to be paying off in a big way, helping the city land a major convention in 2019 with an estimated $18.6 million economic impact.
City officials on Tuesday announced a one-year deal to host the National Safety Council’s Annual Congress & Expo on Sept. 23-25, 2019. It’s the first time the event has been in Indianapolis, and NSC officials said bringing the gathering here wouldn’t have been possible without the expansion.
“With its expanded convention facilities, convenient hotel skywalk system, and compact downtown, Indianapolis is a natural fit for our annual convention,” said Karen Howe, National Safety Council executive director.
The city-wide convention will use the entire 566,000-square-foot Convention Center and bring 14,000 delegates to the city. ICVA officials said the event will likely be one of the five biggest conventions Indianapolis hosts in 2019.
The city and state recently spent $275 million to add 254,000 square feet of exhibit space, 63,000 square feet of meeting rooms and 103,000 square feet of pre-function and registration space to the Convention Center. The expansion was complete in January.
Most of the conventions currently hosted by Indianapolis bring in fewer than half as many delegates as the NSC event. Among the city’s biggest conventions, the Do It Best Corp.’s annual convention brings in 10,000 delegates, and CEDIA Expo brings in 25,000 delegates.
Local tourism officials said the NSC attracts a notably upscale demographic, with many medical-related business executives attending from New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles.
ICVA officials said they’d been pursuing the NSC Annual Congress & Expo for more than a year. Recently, the NSC has held expos in Anaheim, Calif.; Atlanta; Chicago; New Orleans; Orlando and San Diego.
“There’s a wow factor throughout the industry when you win a piece of business like this," said ICVA spokesman Chris Gahl. “A win like this can turn the heads of other large conventions and corporate meetings. When there’s a convention that has been booking in mega-convention cities like Orlando and Chicago, and it comes to Indianapolis, it helps change the image of our city, and shows we are capable of hosting this caliber of meeting.”
The National Safety Council is a not-for-profit service organization dedicated to protecting life and promoting health. Headquartered in Itasca, Ill., NSC was founded in 1913 and granted a congressional charter in 1953.