Updated March 26 at 6:25pm

Officials tout $17M economic impact of meetings, conventions this fall

Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau on Wednesday opened the Expo of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers at the Rhode Island Convention Center.

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Officials tout $17M economic impact of meetings, conventions this fall

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PROVIDENCE – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau on Wednesday opened the Expo of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers at the Rhode Island Convention Center.

The expo is running at the same time as the World Maritime Technology Conference.

Combined, that and other meetings’ presence in downtown Providence reflect favorably on the conference business associated with the Convention Center, said Elorza and PWCVB President and CEO Martha Sheridan.

“The meetings and convention industry in Providence is a powerful economic generator, filling hotels, restaurants and the Rhode Island Convention Center,” said Elorza. “It also serves as a springboard to other economic opportunities, whether it is the conversion of meeting delegates to leisure travelers or the chance to meet with world-class leaders in their field.”

In all, meetings, conventions and sporting events booked by the PWCVB in September, October and November generated $17 million in direct spending, a news release from the convention and visitors bureau said.

The Expo will generate $674,000 in direct spend and has brought experts in the field of naval engineering and architecture here, Sheridan noted.

“In Providence, we have enjoyed a particularly lucrative fall that has seen several medical and scientific groups meet,” she added.

Other key meetings and conventions held this fall that resulted in economic impact to the city include the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses Annual Conference, with a direct spend of $1.6 million, and the American Biological Safety Association Annual Conference, with a direct spend of $1.5 million.

Elorza’s administration, along with representatives of the R.I. Commerce Corp., have been working with both SNAME and the WMTC, organizing a presentation by the University of Rhode Island and Deepwater Wind, and hosting a small reception for conference delegates.

Sheridan, a board member of the U.S. Travel Association, pointed to that organization’s “Meetings Mean Business” campaign, which champions the meetings industry’s role in economic development.

“The purpose of ‘Meetings Mean Business’ is to develop an information and advocacy platform that explains how the industry drives business, creates jobs and generates economic value,” said Sheridan.

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