May Events Draw Record Tourism Numbers for Charlotte | Charlotte NC Travel & Tourism
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May Events Draw Record Tourism Numbers for Charlotte


Events produce more than $400 million in economic impact

April showers have brought a lot more than May flowers this year for Charlotte. Several large-scale events, including the Quail Hollow Championship, the opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the mix of NASCAR races and celebrations and the NRA convention have brought in over $400 million in economic impact in just one month*.

“We say that Charlotte’s Got a Lot, and this amazing month shows that we are able to handle multiple events over multiple dates with ease and welcome many more such months in the future!” said Tim Newman, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA).

May has been a historic month for Charlotte in many ways. The high-tech, visitor friendly NASCAR Hall of Fame celebrated its grand opening on May 11, adding one more reason for visitors to view the city as a top tourist destination. In its first week, the Hall attracted over 10,000 ticket bearing visitors, with 4,500 joining the outdoor festivities on the first day. In the same week, the NRA convention, the largest in Charlotte history, brought a record-breaking 72,000+ people to the Charlotte Convention Center, Time Warner Cable Arena (just two blocks away) and of course the NASCAR Hall of Fame, right next door to the Center, to ogle the latest in firearms technology and hear from celebrities including Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Chuck Norris.

The convention also put into use the new Crown Ballroom, a 40,000 square foot meeting space adjacent to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and an extension of the Convention Center. This space and other city additions have begun to draw bigger conventions to the city, due to increased capacity and entertainment options.

The very same week, a much splashier event was taking place right down the street. UltraSwim, a competition drawing famous names like Michael Phelps, Aaron Peirsol and Natalie Coughlin packed the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center with sold out attendance.

But before these events even started, the Quail Hollow Championship had already enjoyed sold out attendance, with 35,000 people wandering the greenways each day of the tournament. Touted as one of the most challenging courses outside of PGA play, Quail Hollow Director of Operations Lee Patterson estimates the event produced $40 to $60 million in economic impact for the region. Over 300 members of the media covered the tournament, which was broadcast in 225 countries to 580 million households.

Rounding out the spectacular month, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 drew race-goers to Charlotte Motor Speedway in droves. A highlight of the month and staple of Charlotte tourism, motorsports events, including Food Lion Speed Street, drew more than 400,000 people to the region in May. Past studies have shown the impact of the races on the Charlotte region to be more than $200 million for the month, and this year should be no exception.

Mid month, National Travel and Tourism week was celebrated by Visit Charlotte and area attractions with a special PIT Stop at the I-77 Welcome Center to greet NASCAR fans and visitors coming to North Carolina. In reality, the whole month was a celebration of tourism. Charlotte’s success as a host to these events proves its status as a tourist destination. The city will benefit from more than $400 million in economic impact thanks to the events held in May and the people who traveled here to attend them. It truly was a spectacular month for the Queen City!

May 2010

Event name:  NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race
Economic Impact:  $94 million
Source:  UNCC, 2005, Charlotte Observer

Event:  Coca Cola 600
Economic Impact:  $136 million
Source:  CMS, 2009 Press Release

Event:  Visit Charlotte’s May Bookings (28 events inc. NRA)
Economic Impact:  $82 million
Source:  CRVA 2010 internal analysis, DMAI, ExPact

Event:  NASCAR Hall of Fame May 11-31 visitation
Economic Impact:  $10 million
Source:  CRVA 2010 internal analysis, DKSA, TNS

Event:  Quail Hollow Championship
Economic Impact:  $50 million
Source:  Quail Hollow Championship, 2010

Event:  Food Lion Speed Street
Economic Impact:  $31 million
Source:  CRVA 2010 internal analysis JHE 2010 Press Release

Total economic impact: $403 million

Molly Hedrick,