Meetings and Conventions Bring Thousands to South Shore

Lake County, Indiana - Thousands of convention attendees will descend on Lake County this summer, filling hotel rooms throughout Merrillville, Hammond and beyond. The Salvation Army hosts 3,000 visitors annually and has been bringing their convention to the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza, in Merrillville, for more than two decades. They will return in June (12th through 14th) of this year, bringing much needed dollars into the region's economy. Marjorie Homer with the Salvation Army said, "The South Shore has been a great fit for the Salvation Army Convention; the area has a small-town feeling and is also comfortable, safe and convenient."

            Each convention attendee spends an average of $250 a day during their stay. The $250 is divided among restaurants, gas stations, shopping facilities and attractions. Many times a conventioneer will go unnoticed in the South Shore; they won't be wearing a t-shirt that reads, "I love Lake County," but they will be present. That may not be the case with one convention- the Model "A" Ford Restorers Club, scheduled for June 21st through 26th. Residents will be sure to see hundreds of Classic Model "A" Fords cruising through Lake County; they have a car cruise that will tour parts of Lake County on June 25th. The convention will bring 1,500 visitors to Lake County, where they will visit local attractions and restaurants, bringing an estimated $509,750 to our local economy.

            The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority's sales team is anticipating a busy summer - hosting thousands of visitors for meetings and conventions,  including the Great Lake Shriners (September), the National United Merchant Beverage Association (June) and the American Canadian Macedonian Convocation (September).   This year will bring a total of 10,545 conventioneers (approximately 3,000 more than in 2008). These 10,000+ visitors will generate more than 7,000 room nights and an estimated economic impact of $1,828,000.

            Conventions will not "end" in 2009, the sales staff at the South Shore CVA already has several conventions booked through 2011, such as the Indiana League of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Conference, Al Anon State Convention and the Indiana State Police Chaplains Conference in the next two years. The sales team currently has proposals out for business into 2013.