Streamliners train event to generate $1.6 million for Rowan

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 30, 2014

SPENCER — The N.C. Transportation Museum’s Streamliners at Spencer festival will make a substantial economic impact on Rowan County as thousands of visitors from 41 states and five countries travel to Spencer, according to the Salisbury-Rowan County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The bureau estimates that between 1,500 and 2,000 hotel room nights will be used. Streamliners at Spencer should generate visitor and event spending exceeding $1.2 million, with a total economic impact of nearly $1.6 million, Executive Director James Meacham said.
The bureau and the museum’s foundation launched a strategic partnership in early 2013 to help develop the N.C. Transportation Museum as a tourism and economic development asset.
The partnership supports events like Streamliners and places a greater emphasis on recruiting out-of-town visitors who spend the night in Rowan hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau helped pay to put on Streamliners and has provided staff support for the event.
“The partnership with the CVB has allowed the foundation and the museum to launch events that support the Transportation Museum through increased visitation, bolster the tourism industry by attracting overnight visitors and provide a greater economic impact for Rowan County and the region,” Kelly Alexander, chief operating officer for the foundation, said in a news release.
Overnight visitors spend three times more money and visit more local businesses than day visitors. Meacham has pointed to the museum’s foundation as an example of an organization that excels at designing events that lure overnight visitors.
“The foundation is an excellent partner and has worked tirelessly to attract major tourism events to the community that bring overnight visitors and showcases the Transportation Museum as a great cultural asset in Rowan County and North Carolina,” Meacham said.
Events such as Streamliners highlight Rowan County’s wealth of tourism assets, specifically the museum and its capacity to create a strong economic impact through overnight visitors, he said.
“This event has far exceeded our expectations and is generating a substantial economic impact from visitors,” he said.
Organizers expect to sell about 6,000 tickets, with the vast majority going to out-of-town visitors.
Hotels in Rowan County are essentially sold out for the event, pushing market occupancy higher than normal for the last week of May, said Krista Osterweil, general manager of Hampton Inn and chairwoman of the Convention and Visitors Bureau Marketing Committee.
“One great feature about Streamliners is that all lodging properties in Rowan County are directly benefiting from the event,” she said.
The event highlights Rowan’s powerful cultural assets, said Robert Van Geons, executive director for RowanWORKS Economic Development.
“In addition to supporting local business and jobs in our community, events like this allow thousands of people, business owners and decision makers to see us in a positive light,” Van Geons said. “Whether attracting visitors or industry, being a unique community, with a great quality of life, is one of the best ways to grow our economy.”
The bureau will continue to focus on partnerships that recruit new visitors to the community, specifically overnight visitors, as a key to success and continued growth, Chairman Bill Burgin said.
“The partnership with the Transportation Museum Foundation is the perfect example of the types of partnerships the CVB is working to establish in Rowan County,” Burgin said.
According to the latest figures from the N.C. Department of Commerce, domestic tourism in Rowan County in 2012 generated an economic impact of $137.74 million. Tourism in Rowan has increased every year since 2009, and this year has reached record levels in hotel market revenues.