• Kenton Tsoodle

Economic development forum to showcase OKC


Oklahoma City will host an important conference and bring thousands of economic development professionals to our city Sept. 18-21. The International Economic Development Council conference will provide industry insight from experts about important economic development topics, including economic reinvention, community innovation, and disaster recovery and resiliency.

In addition to the learning sessions, the conference will offer tours of several of Oklahoma City’s thriving districts and economic hubs including Paseo, Plaza, Capitol Hill, Midtown, NE 23rd Street, Innovation District, Tinker Air Force Base and more. Our strong, revitalized districts are a model for how to use investment incentives and encourage effective private-public redevelopment partnerships and are one of the reasons the conference selected Oklahoma City as the host city. Additionally, there is always high interest in how Oklahoma City has dramatically reinvented itself using MAPS, our unique, 1-cent, pay-as-you-go, voter-approved sales tax program.

The conference will be hosted at the Oklahoma City Convention Center, with overnight accommodations at Omni Hotel, another key in hosting these types of large conferences, as the high number of attendees can have accommodations and meeting rooms in adjoining locations with access to entertainment, Scissortail Park and other downtown attractions. Oklahoma City has grown our convention, hotel, tourism and event business over the past several years, in part due to the completion of the convention center and Omni as well as the increasing number of hotel rooms in the downtown and Bricktown areas, improvements to State Fair Park, new attractions and increased amenities such as the Boathouse District and the Bennett Event Center.

Our Convention and Visitors Bureau promotes Oklahoma City to conference organizers year-round and competes with other cities to bring conferences, conventions and group tours to our city because they are a powerful economic development force. It is estimated that for every 10,000 convention attendee visitors, Oklahoma City experiences an economic boost by as much as $2 million through visitor spending on hotel nights, restaurants and shopping.

An economic development conference is the perfect way to point out the benefits our city reaps as we continue to add more hotel rooms and destination features and support our entertainment venues, restaurants and unique districts. These all work together to attract visitors and encourage them to stay longer and explore beyond the event that brings them to town.

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