The American Bus Association’s 28th annual Marketplace conference wrapped up just two weeks ago, but just as the motorcoaches rolled out of the Queen City, business from the bus operators and group tour planners that attended the show started rolling in. Throughout the course of their stay in Charlotte, over 3,100 ABA Marketplace attendees received a healthy dose of what the region has to offer through familiarization and sightseeing tours and dine arounds, which hopefully enticed them to bring group travel back to the region time and time again.
A mere 24 hours after the closing ceremony, a request was placed from Lowee’s Group Tours for a four-day familiarization tour of Charlotte and its many attractions. Numerous other group tour companies are booking business as others request more information on bringing their business to the Queen City. What does this mean for Charlotte? Dollar signs. An overnight visit made by a motorcoach group can sink more than $13,000 into a destination’s economy. And it doesn’t stop there. After a positive experience, these group tour companies are guaranteed to bring their business back time and time again. And seeing that motorcoaches provide over 750 million passenger trips per year, that’s a lot of business to bring in.
“ABA Marketplace provided an opportunity for thousands of tourism professionals to explore our vibrant city and the wealth of things to see and do that make for memorable group travel experiences” says Visit Charlotte Executive Director Mike Butts. “The best thing about hosting ABA Marketplace in Charlotte is the residual effect – now that these folks have experienced the best of Charlotte, they’ll be bringing business back to us for many years to come.”
Visit Charlotte, a division of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, has promoted the Charlotte region for over 25 years as a destination for tourists, a host city for meetings and conventions and a site for sporting events. It employs a staff of approximately 40 that includes satellite sales offices in Chicago and Washington, DC.