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

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

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.