Just six years after hosting the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte is preparing to take on the Republican National Convention in 2020, and the local governing board and businesses are looking forward to the potential benefits that come with hosting such a big event.
Tariq Bokhari, a member of the Charlotte Town Council, said Charlotte has become a hub for younger generations.
“Charlotte is a top 20 South city that is rapidly growing," Bokhari said. "It’s the number one city in America for millennial relocations. It’s where young people want to be.”
The movement of young people into Charlotte offers the Republican Party a potential for persuading voters.
Planning is already taking place on a weekly basis. Charlotte Town Council member Larken Egleston said local businesses are expecting an influx of customers, and hotels just outside Charlotte are already completely booked.
“The RNC makes a lot of sense from an economic impact,” Bokhari said.
Bokhari added that the convention will bring a lot of revenue to Charlotte's small businesses as well. Over the coming months, Egleston said representatives from the Republican Party will be coming into Charlotte to find the best hotels and restaurants in the area.
In 2012, after the DNC, an economic impact of approximately $163.6 million was recorded, mostly in the hospitality industry. This was calculated through direct, indirect and induced spending.
Egleston said one in nine people of Charlotte’s workforce are in hospitality.
Despite all of the benefits, there will still be challenges to hosting this massive event. Charlotte’s governing board and police force will be given the responsibility of managing a massive security budget.
The board plans to take the matter of security carefully. Egleston said the Charlotte City Council has set a budget of $60 million for security for the event.
Despite the current tension between Democrats and Republicans, Charlotte wants to assure everyone the freedom to express themselves in the safest way possible. The council has supported the right for people to be able to protest non-violently and safely.
“We want to cater to both sides of the aisle,” Bokhari said.
There was certainly tension to accept the vote. 100 people at the council spoke against the RNC being held in Charlotte, but according to Bokhari, more were for it, including some Democrats.
Both Bokhari and Egleston agreed that opening the conversation to the community showed why Charlotte is ready for the convention.
The convention is set to be held on Aug. 24-27, 2020 in the Spectrum Center in uptown Charlotte.
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