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IDB brings economic & tourism benefits to Calgary

CALGARY, March 7 - The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) annual meeting later this month in Calgary will provide an opportunity for the city to showcase investment potential to other countries as well as having a direct economic impact according to a recent article by Mario Toneguzzi in the Calgary Herald on March 7.

Officials expect about 3,000 delegates to the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the IDB March 25-28. It's world's oldest and largest regional development bank and the main source of multilateral financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Joseph Clohessy, president of the Calgary Hotel Association, said the meeting represents more than 20,000 room nights in the market. "One of the key elements of it that really benefits the destination is it's happening over a weekend," he said. "We don't get a lot of conferences as big as this coming in over a weekend. Sometimes we'll get them in but they're coming in during the week. To have a conference kicking off on a Thursday and going through the Sunday is quite significant for our market and it will definitely show growth for the market this year over last year."

Randy Williams, president and chief executive of Tourism Calgary, said the IDB meeting in Calgary will have a "significant" impact on the city's economy. "It should result in at least $3 million to $4 million in economic activity," said Williams. "This conference is a high yield or high-end delegates. Senior business leaders from various countries. Their spend in Calgary should be fairly good and robust ... (The spending) is excellent in the month of March. Traditionally weekends in March are not a favourable time for hotel occupancy. So having this downtown convention over a weekend in March is good certainly for the restaurant and hotel community."

The IDB annual meeting puts Calgary in the spotlight giving the city significant opportunity to promote the work being done to build a global energy centre and a global financial centre, said Bruce Graham, president and chief executive of Calgary Economic Development. "To a captive audience, we will showcase our city as a superior investment and trade development partner with key markets in Latin America and the Caribbean," he said. "The most significant impact is who is going to be here when the IDB comes into town. We expect heads of states, heads of banks. We'll have ministers and leaders of financial institutions from literally around the world at this event."

Graham said there is an adjunct program with the meeting for private sector representatives working in finance to make them familiar with how Calgary is evolving as a financial services centre. There is also an energy chief executive's program that is also planned. "Energy and finance are two significant areas that we'll be focusing on and we're also working with the mayor's office to help with the hosting of a mayors' municipal program as well," added Graham.
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