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Convention impact grows

February 2, 2017

Indianapolis continues to see consistent year-over-year growth in its convention business, which is reflected in the growth of the 10 biggest conventions the city hosts.

In 2017, Visit Indy projects the city’s 10 biggest conventions will have a $380 million economic impact, a 6 percent increase from last year.

Since 2014, the economic impact from the city’s largest conventions has increased 29 percent, from $295.4 million. And 2014 was bolstered by the National Rifle Association annual meeting, which drew 70,000 attendees and had an economic impact of $55.4 million, according to Visit Indy.

This year, Gen Con is projected to be the city’s biggest convention, with 61,000 attendees and an estimated economic impact of $71.1 million.

Visit Indy Vice President Chris Gahl said the growth in the city’s top 10 conventions is the result of years of hard work.

“Over that last five years, we’ve seen steady growth in the total number of visitors racing into Indy as well as the economic impact generated, now at an all-time record of $4.9 billion annually,” Gahl said.

What Visit Indy books is critical for central Indiana hotels because convention and group business accounts for more than half of all annual hotel rooms booked in the city, said Patrick Tamm, president of the Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association.

“We count on group business—conventions and corporate meetings—in Indianapolis more than any other major U.S. city,” Tamm said. “So winning these conventions is a big part of the lifeblood of the region’s hospitality industry.”

The top 10 conventions in Indianapolis:

1. Gen Con, $71.1 million

2. Performance Racing Indy, $70.9 million

3. Church of the Nazarene, $41 million

4. National FFA Convention & Expo, $40.1 million

5. Primerica Life Insurance Co., $34.4 million

6. FDIC International, $33.9 million

7. Nike Mideast Qualifier, $26.7 million

8. JAMfest Cheer Super Nationals, $22.4 million

9. National Safety Council, $21.9 million

10. Big Ten Football Championship, $17.4 million•

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