Tampa Bay Political Getaway: Visit the Republican National Convention

Looking for a vacation with some meaning? Well, the Republican National Committee just announced that it’s selected Tampa Bay for its 2012 presidential convention. So, don an elephant hat and start pushing for access now! More than 40,000 visitors are expected to hit the city the week of the convention (August 27, 2012), more than 15,000 of which will be members of the media.

According to Paul Catoe, president and CEO of Tampa Bay & Company, “This will be the largest non-sporting event that Tampa Bay has ever hosted and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome the 2012 RNC to our vibrant destination.” He also noted, “Tampa Bay is a dynamic destination that offers warm weather and even warmer hospitality, and I know we will produce the most memorable convention ever.”

If the 2008 convention in Minneapolis can be used to gauge the impact, some big cash should flow through Tampa Bay, especially for the hospitality industry. At the last Republican National Convention, 2,800 new jobs were created, bringing with them $100 million in wages.

Catoe observed, “The 2012 convention will be held during a time period that historically one of our lowest periods of the year for hotel occupancy.” He continued, “Having an additional 40,000 visitors in our community will provide an economic boost for businesses both in the hospitality industry, as well as those indirectly involved.”

Florida in the sumer may be tough, but at least you’ll sweat to be a part of history.

[Via Cigar Reader]

Twin Cities Prepare for RNC

The roads have been repaved, the bars stocked and the popcorn swept out of the Excel Energy Center’s aisles. It’s only a few days until the Republicans storm the beachhead and impose their flag waving and slogan chanting on the good people of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

It might seem odd that a state that usually votes Democrat when it comes to president is playing host to John McCain. Sure, Minnesota has a Republican governor, but he’s more of a centrist than McCain, and his opponent in the last election had so much baggage that he laid down and gave up halfway through the race.

No, the RNC is not really about politics for the Twin Cities. It’s about a couple of underrated, mid-sized cities trying to get some respect. It’s about showing off the nightlife and restaurants (hey Andrew Zimmern chose St. Paul over New York, so there must be something good about the eating scene). It’s about showing the nation that Chicago isn’t the only game in the Midwest.

To be clear, the convention will be in Saint Paul, but, Minneapolis (pictured above) is a mere 10 minute drive down Highway 94. Logistically, at least, they can be considered different parts of one big city. I’ll be in the Twin Cities next week, letting you in on some of the cities’ highlights and, perhaps, bringing you a report on the crazy nightlife habits of young Republicans. Stay tuned.