The Entire NEO Region Shines During The RNC

Cleveland Aerial

As Cleveland Plus gears up for next week’s historic Republican National Convention, we reflect on our mission as an organization: as Northeast Ohio’s first and only regional marketing campaign, we work as a program of Team NEO with 4 main objectives:

  1. Attract business and jobs to our region through the work of Team NEO (Cleveland Plus Business).
  2. Garner positive national media coverage of the region’s economic development progress, its growth industries and its quality of life amenities
  3. Disseminate positive news and information, particularly in the area of economic develop, to community influencers within the region.
  4. Help corporations, institutions and organizations attract talent to Northeast Ohio.

With last month’s NBA championship and this upcoming RNC, the 2016 spotlight shines not only on Cleveland this summer, but the economic boost, influx of visitors and Global and National media coverage benefit our region as a whole.

Here are just a few stats about what to expect next week:   

  • 50,000 – The Number of Visitors expected in Northeast Ohio during the RNC

  • 16,700 – Number of hotel rooms that are a part of the official hotel block for the RNC

  • 15,000 – The number of credential media members expected to cover the convention

  • 100+ – The number of official hotels throughout the region in the RNC hotel block

  • 35 Miles from Downtown – The furthest hotel being Kalahari Resort in Sandusky

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We reached out to some regional organizations and institutions to ask how the RNC is impacting Cleveland, Akron, Canton and Youngstown.

In Akron and Canton:

The Akron Canton Airport is expecting a mass flow of passengers coming into Northeast Ohio next week.

“Our airport is expecting to welcome an influx of travelers and visitors during the Republican National Convention. This next week will be an exciting time in Northeast Ohio and we’re thrilled to be an entrance point to those attending the RNC in Cleveland. We are delighted, too, that we have completed our 2.7 million dollar ticket wing rehabilitation project prior to the RNC. Visitors will have a great first impression of our region because of these improvements.”
-Akron-Canton Airport President and CEO Rick McQueen

As the first point of contact many visitors will have with NEO, Akron Canton Airport is proud to represent NEO. It is important to recognize that the RNC is possible with the support of the region as a whole.

In Cuyahoga County:

In Cuyahoga County, the Regional Transit Authority is prepared for an abundance of passengers:

“Everyday the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority helps more than 200,000 travel to their destination throughout Cuyahoga County. Next week thousands of people from throughout the United States (media, delegates, elected officials sponsors etc) will be traveling to the best location in the nation Cleveland and Northeast Ohio for the Republican National Convention. While downtown Cleveland is the epicenter of the this momentous occasion that does not mean that all of the convention activity will be limited downtown. Given that many delegations are staying throughout our region in cities such as: Westlake, Fairlawn, Sandusky, Akron, Beachwood, etc.

-Jose Feliciano : External Affairs Administrator, Regional Transit Authority (RTA)

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Jose goes on to highlight regional attractions that Convention attendees and all Northeast Ohio visitors should make a point to visit:

No Doubt the attendees of the RNC convention will be traveling throughout our region will be taking advantage of some our great regional attractions like: Cedar Point, The Metroparks, The new canopy walk at Holden Arboretum, The Pro Football Hall of Fame and the beaches along Lake Erie just to name a few. I think we will will feel the positive impacts of this convention when it is all said done. This is great opportunity for us to all show off how proud we are to live, work and play in this region.”  

NEO residents may have to adjust to the hustle and bustle of the RNC. Luckily, our public services, like the RTA, will be taking every action to accommodate our visitors as well as continue to maintain the integrity of service to Cleveland-Area residents. 

In Youngstown:

The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber is using the RNC in Cleveland as a lure to attract the site selectors, as well as to engage important Washington D.C. policymakers in discussions about economic issues that are critical to the Valley’s future.

“By bringing the site consultants to town, we’ll be able to tell our story in person, in our community. We often travel outside of the Valley for meetings with site selectors, so having them here with their feet on the ground is significant to our generating future economic development opportunities.”

-Sarah Boyarko, Senior Vice President of Economic Development at the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber

The convention is much more than bi-partisan politics to the region. Yes, the RNC is bringing them to town, but it is what we can all do while they’re here that can truly matter.

In addition to focusing on economic development, The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber is also having some fun and incorporating technology into their plans for the RNC.

The Regional Chamber is spearheading the creation of two life-sized, 3D-printed bobble heads of the 2016 presidential nominees. Designed by Freshmade 3D of Youngstown and built with assistance from Humtown Products of Columbiana and Youngstown State University, the bobble heads represent the major industry drivers of the Valley: metals, specifically aluminum, and 3D printing.

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Sara Shookman, who is originally from Akron, concludes with this thought:

“Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, an Akronite or a Clevelander, I think the Republican National Convention is an opportunity to redefine our region. Delegations are staying far south, east and west, so we all should feel like we have a stake in the convention’s outcomes. Not what happens on stage, but what can happen in our communities, in each interaction. This is the political Olympics, and its ability to boost a city is second only to the Games. This is our chance to let the world see what we see every day in Akron and Cleveland. Let’s make it count.” 

-Sara Shookman, WKYC Anchor

Bringing it All Together

The entire region should celebrate, and welcome its visitors to this historic event. With a NBA championship, a historic convention, lots of exposure, and record-breaking tourism, we are proud – as a region – to take on the RNC.