Experts say Cleveland can expect more business in future thanks to RNC

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CLEVELAND-- The Republican National Convention has come and gone, but the impact it had on Cleveland will be felt for many years to come.

City leaders say the media attention and the ability to pull off such a large-scale event could draw other groups here in the future.

The RNC is the second most-covered media event in the world, second only to the summer games in Brazil.

Monday afternoon, downtown Cleveland is back to normal.  Last week, Cleveland hosted 50,000 people for the RNC and proved the city can handle a major world event.

"We now have all the pieces for what we need to be a great meetings destination," said Mike Burns, senior vice president of convention sales and services for Destination Cleveland.

Burns said since Cleveland landed the RNC, other groups have expressed interest in coming here.  He said a new convention center and attached 32-story hotel allows the city to host conventions of any size.

"On Friday, Sigma Gamma Rho checks in. And we got the bid on Sigma Gamma Rho right after the RNC was announced. One of the members said if this convention can come to Cleveland, we should hold our convention there," Burns said.

In March 2015, FOX 8 traveled to Tampa, Florida, host of the 2012 RNC.  On Monday afternoon, we spoke by phone to Santiago Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay.  He said Cleveland can expect an increase in business like they did after the RNC.

"We saw some conventions decide to come to our destination as a result of being exposed to the destination through the actual Republican National Convention," Corrada said.

"We were able to leverage IBM and Siemens to come back and have meetings, convention here in Tampa. So we were very, very fortunate during the actual convention to work on some of the big corporations and businesses that were here about having future meetings and events here," Corrada said.

"Cleveland is the buzz. It's the hot spot to be right now," said Teri Agosta, general manager of the Hilton Cleveland Downtown.

The Hilton Cleveland Downtown is currently hosting more than 600 Hilton executives from around the world, held here, partly because of the RNC.

"Actually in many ways this is bigger than the RNC for Cleveland because each of these people are each responsible for booking millions and millions of dollars of business and they're looking at Cleveland for the potential of future bookings," Agosta said.

Agosta also said as many guests were checking out of the hotel, they talked about returning to Cleveland with their families for vacations.

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