The Sloan Convention Center's primary mission is to attract conventions and meetings that will generate economic benefits for Bowling Green. When convention attendees come to Bowling Green they create economic activity that ripples throughout the region. They stay in local hotels, eat at the restaurants, shop at our stores, visit our tourist attractions, buy gas, and go home and tell others about what Bowling Green has to offer. This spending creates more jobs in the service sector.
According to Destination Marketing Association International, lodging and food/beverage typically account for 75% of a convention attendee’s direct spending. Trade shows also contribute additional expenditures to the community. Typically, at least 80% of conference attendees stay in a hotel, and the rest either commute from home or stay with family or friends.
According to Roger Brooks, CEO of Destination Development Inc., overnight visitors spend three times what day visitors spend.
The Sloan Convention Center usually hosts over 500 events per year. These range from small meetings, to wedding receptions, to trade shows, to state association conventions. Approximately 70% of the business comes from outside of Warren County. Every dollar brought into the convention center can be multiplied three to five times to the community. The positive impact of the Sloan Convention Center and adjacent hotels for Warren County’s economy is well over $25 million per year.
Very few publicly-owned convention centers generate sufficient income to cover operating expenses and debt. Most require some sort of tax-supported subsidy, usually in the form of transient (hotel) room tax receipts and/or direct funding from the local government(s). The economic benefits of having a convention center usually offset the cost to local government. Some convention centers may be owned and/or operated under the auspices of State government. For example, the Frankfort Convention Center is a state enterprise, and the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville is operated by the State Fair Board. The governor appoints some members to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center board.
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