International conference with OSCPA connections expected to bring in millions

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By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

The annual meeting of the American Society of Association Executives held earlier this week in central Ohio is anticipated to have a significant financial impact on the region and the state for years to come.

“In the next 10 years that is expected to total $500 million in business that attendees will bring with their meetings, conventions and conferences,” wrote OSCPA President and CEO Scott Wiley, CAE, in a letter to the Columbus Dispatch about the benefits of the conference. Wiley was chairman of the ASAE board of directors when Columbus was selected as a host city.

The event brought in 5,000 executives and meeting professionals and generated more than $16 million in direct visitor spending for Columbus. Previously, the event has been held in cities such as Chicago, Toronto and Salt Lake City, and next year it’s in Las Vegas.

“ASAE is one of those annual events that Experience Columbus targets,” said Robert Shenton, CPA, past Experience Columbus board chair and managing partner at Plante Moran. “And certainly, it's a big part of what we do to try and promote the community as a great destination for similar events like this.”

Ohio continues to elevate its image on a national level when it comes to hosting large events, such as the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

“The state of Ohio is unique in that we have three major markets, Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, that make up our state as far as destinations for conventions,” Shenton said. “And the more we promote, not just Columbus, but the state of Ohio, there's significant economic impact that comes from that.”

During the exhibit hall portion of the conference, Ohio cities came out in full force to represent the Buckeye State. Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton, Dublin, Hamilton, Sandusky and others had booths set up to connect with meeting organizers and decision makers about bringing their event to Ohio.

Holding ASAE in Columbus helps dispels stereotypes that Ohio can’t compete with larger cities said Don Brown, CPA and executive director of the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority.

“If it serves central Ohio well, it serves the entire state well,” Brown said. “It demonstrates that we are capable of handling major events here. Whether it's in Central Ohio, or in Northeast Ohio or somewhere else, that supply chain stretches out across the state. And we believe the economic benefit of both direct and indirect spending multiplies across Ohio.”

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