National Senior Games filling hotels and restaurants - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

National Senior Games filling hotels and restaurants

As major developments and events bring visitors to town, the tourism industry in Cuyahoga County continues to grow, contributing approximately $6.7 billion in economic impact each year.

This month's National Senior Games are a perfect example of the importance of major events downtown for strengthening and supporting tourism to the entire region.

"It's incredible to see how a big-time national event not only lights up the downtown economy but also provides a significant spark for its suburban communities," said David Gilbert, President and CEO of Positively Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, the organization responsible for securing the event.     

According to the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, there are almost 11,000 visiting athletes in town who are participating in this event.  

It is estimated that another 15,000 are here to support the athletes totaling more than 25,000 visitors over a two week period.  

In order to accommodate such a large number of visitors, Positively Cleveland helped to coordinate hotel room blocks in more than 25 properties in the city and the suburbs. 

"In the Independence area, on average we have seen an increase by 6 percent in hotel occupancies for the month of July year over year," said Barbara Yeater, director of sales, Hyatt Place Cleveland Independence.

She notes that the demand has also increased room rates by 10 percent. "The best part is we have gained a new following of visitors that are excited about Cleveland and its offerings and who we hope will return."
In addition to the uptick in occupancy at suburban hotels, visitor traffic can be felt throughout the region as a number of events spill over into neighboring communities beyond the new Cleveland Convention Center in downtown Cleveland.

For example, archery events were held in Russell Township at the Laurel School Butler Campus and the bulk of the track and field competition is taking place at Baldwin Wallace University. As the bleachers fill up, so do local restaurants.

"We often see an increase during the summer travel months, but this year the Senior Games have really give my local neighborhood locations an additional boost in local and regional traffic," said Matt Fish, owner of Melt Bar and Grilled, a local favorite in the Cleveland region with locations in Lakewood, Cleveland Heights, Independence and Mentor. 

The tens of thousands of athletes and spectators who are participating in the National Senior Games are also spending time and money dining at the region's nationally-recognized restaurants, staying at our hotels, shopping in our stores and visiting many of our other award-wining attractions.

Looking ahead to 2014, Cleveland will host the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships in March, Case Management Society of America in June and the International Gay Games in August.

Then, 2015 will bring to town major conventions such as the Industrial Supply Association Product Show in April 2015 and Rubber Division-America Chemical Society.

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