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  Summer Conferences at Hope Support Local Economy
  
          HOLLAND -- The Hope College summer conference
  program contributed an estimated $2.9 million to the local
  economy in 1996, according to a report recently released by
  the Association of Conference and Event Directors-
  International (ACED-I).
          Nearly 10,000 participants attended conferences at
  Hope between May and mid-August in 1996.  According to ACED-
  I, spending in the area related to the programs and direct
  spending by participants totaled $733,000 and $548,000
  respectively.
          ACED-I calculates that such spending has a
  multiplier effect resulting in additional spending in the
  community, and estimated the additional spending for 1996 at
  $1.7 million, for a total impact of $2.9 million.
          Attending conferences at Hope College was a
  destination trip for most participants, with 90 percent of
  all respondents surveyed by ACED-I indicating that their
  visit for the conference at the college was the primary
  reason for the trip.
          Ninety-nine percent of all participants indicated
  that their trip included at least two days, with an average
  stay of four days that resulted in $107,000 in lodging
  expenditures.  Other spending included $90,500 in retail
  shopping and $88,000 for food, beverages and entertainment
  off-campus.
          The study revealed that out of each dollar spent
  during a conference, 25 cents was spent on-campus with the
  remaining 75 cents spent off-campus in the local community.
          "This report reinforces the fact that conferences
  occurring at Hope College are as important to the business
  community as they are to the college," said Barbara
  Schipper, director of conference services at Hope.  "These
  results are particularly impressive since all of the
  spending occurs from May through mid-August."
          Chuck Melchiori, director of hospitality services
  at Hope, noted that "It is also significant that this study
  does not include the annual economic impact of the almost
  15,000 overnight guests nor the 10,000 meeting and event
  participants at the Haworth Conference and Learning Center."
  The Haworth Conference and Learning Center opened in January
  of this year.
          A total of 95 percent of all conference
  participants indicated that they would recommend the
  conference they attended to friends.  More than 65 percent
  also indicated that they would return for future programs.
          Schipper believes that strong future growth in the
  college's summer conference program is anticipated by the
  high degree of participant satisfaction.
          Hope College is one of 468 members of ACED-I,
  which has members in all 50 states and Canada.

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