This weekend the American Bus Association’s annual convention rolls into downtown Cleveland, marking the city’s largest convention since the RNC.
It is geared towards those who plan group tours.
“This is going to be the opportunity for many of them to see whether it’s ‘what do you do for a girl’s tour that you want to sell to people out of Chicago or Indianapolis?’” said Mike Burns, Destination Cleveland.
More than a thousand attendees are expected. Dustin Caldwell of Motor Coach Industries compares it to ‘speed dating,’ where you spend a few minutes sampling each attraction.
Booths are set up for places like Mackinac Island, New York City and Charleston, South Carolina.
“Then they take back that information and create a tourism package based on it for their local people,” Caldwell said.
Cleveland, of course, has a big presence too. In addition to a table, guests will have the option of choosing from 11 local tours showcasing everything from beer to the arts.
“If we can sell them that this is a great place in January, it’s going to be pretty easy to convince them that this is a place to bring tours in the warmer months,” Burns said.
When we asked how many more conventions are coming this year, Destination Cleveland was unable to provide and exact and immediate answer.
A spokesperson said there is already interest in bringing events as far off as 2021.
WKYC Channel 3 News reached out to a number of cities to compare, including Detroit, which reported more than 100 conventions coming in 2017.
Destination Cleveland also put out the following video welcoming the conventioneers from the American Bus Association to our town. You can watch it below: