TAMPA — Nearly a year after the 2012 Republic National Convention flooded downtown Tampa with politicos, police and protesters, the people who brought the convention to town say it resulted in a total economic impact for the community of $404.39 million. The figure comes from a University of Tampa study released this afternoon in a news conference at Jackson's on the Waterfront on Harbour Island. The total impact takes in $214 million in direct spending by the groups that put on the convention, including the Tampa Bay Host Committee, the City of Tampa, the convention's Committee on Arrangements and corporate sponsors. Rippling out from that were $88.3 million in indirect spending — business-to-business spending spurred by the direct investment — and $103.6 million in induced spending — purchases made by the people paid through direct and indirect investment.
All that spending created $363.5 million in taxable sales across the region and filled 92 percent of the region's hotel beds. Not included the estimates: local spending by the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Teasing that out of the campaign's finance reports would have been too difficult, said Ken Jones, president of the host committee that brought the convention to Tampa. “We tried to come up with an intellectually honest number,” Jones said. “We think we were probably conservative.” Today's report followed one released Monday by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement outlining $282,000 the state spent guarding the out-of-state governors who attended the convention in Tampa. That helped push the state's security costs 44 percent higher than normal last year.
The single-largest RNC-related security expenses were for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and their families. Together, they cost the state $33,800 to protect. The week-long convention brought thousands of delegates, elected officials, journalists and others to the Tampa area. About 4,000 armed police officers patrolled downtown as the city braced for the kind of riotous protests that happened in St. Paul in 2008. The few thousand protesters who did come to town were largely well behaved. Only two were arrested. Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Tuesday the convention's economic impact was important, but not as valuable as the worldwide exposure it gave the city. “The RNC was a validation of what this community can do when it puts its mind to it,” Buckhorn said. firstname.lastname@example.org (813) 259-7871 Twitter: @kwiatrowskiTBO