Conventions Bring Millions of Dollars to Charleston

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- We still have six days left in 2013, yet the folks who bring people to West Virginia's capital city have some good predictions for 2014.

The holidays are a busy time for hotels in Charleston, bringing in families like the Campbells.

"We are visiting my brother," said mother Liz Campbell.

However, the Campbell family won't be spending all their time in the Kanawha Valley with relatives. They know there are plenty of other things to do, as well.

"Great area," said Campbell. "Some good gambling not too far from here and some good restaurants."

They're not alone. The Charleston Convention and Visitor's Bureau has booked more than 17,000 rooms in the last six months, almost 5,000 more than they predicted.

"That's a big economic impact," said Matt Ballard, president of the Charleston Area Alliance.

Many of those lights in the windows come from area events the Bureau signs up as they try to market themselves as a premiere destination, and 2014 is set to be a promising year.

Already, conventions are booked for USA Boxing, Hot Rod Power Magazine Tour, and the American Cornhole Organization.

These events attract thousands who spend money on things like gas, food and retail.

That money benefits those who live in the greater Charleston area.

"That helps out hotels, they rebuild or remodel. That helps our downtown retail, they rebuild or remodel, or expand or new businesses come in," Ballard said, "and those mean jobs for people."

Events booked by the Visitor's Bureau this year through 2017 will bring in almost $14 million.

The Visitor's Bureau expects this number to rise as more renovations are done to the Charleston Civic Center, which will bring in even more conventions.

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