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The Democratic National Convention was held in Charlotte Sept. 4-6, 2012. WFAE's comprehensive coverage of the event is found here.

DNC Meant $163M For Charlotte-Area Economy

Julie Rose

An outside study released Monday says the Democratic National Convention pumped $163 million into the Charlotte-area economy – making it the largest tourism event the city's ever held. WFAE's Julie Rose has this analysis of the study.

$163 million is on the low end of the original estimate city officials gave for what the DNC might mean to the Charlotte economy. That's what stands about this economic impact study – typically they're criticized for being way too rosy.

But Charlotte officials specifically asked the consultant to look at money gained –  and lost – when the DNC came to town.  

Mayor Anthony Foxx wanted an answer to skeptics who doubted the DNC would be worth the trouble.

"I'm glad that it trends more to the conservative side, because that makes the numbers less assailable," says Foxx. :To me, in a situation like this, you want a study that is pretty hard to refute."

In particular, the study accounts for about $7 million in hotel and restaurant spending that was displaced by the DNC because a lot of people who might have come to Charlotte that week stayed away and many who work Uptown worked from home. 

The consultants were also careful to include only money that stayed in the local economy in their final impact number of $163 million. That means nothing that was paid to out-of-town event planners or printers, say, went into the tally.

Even so, "by any quantitative measure . . . the DNC was a huge economic success," says Adam Sacks, head of Tourism Economics which did the study.

The biggest winners during the DNC were Charlotte area hotels which took in 21 million that week. The local government came out well, too, because of a federal security grant that paid police overtime and bought lots of new equipment for CMPD. 

The $25,000 cost to do the economic impact study was split evenly between the City, CRVA, Charlotte Chamber, Charlotte Center City Partners and the Charlotte Regional Partnership.