PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Portland is in the midst of a small hotel construction boom. 3 new hotels are currently being built in the city, another is undergoing extensive renovations that will add 58 rooms, and then there's the development in the planning stages at Thompson's Point. The Convention and Visitor's Bureau in Portland wants to make sure all those rooms are going to good use. And so they've started a new marketing effort aimed at getting Mainers to help attract conventions and other events to town.
The goal is to increase convention business in the state by $50 million over the next three years. They're asking people who go to conventions out of town to act as ambassadors for the state, and go to the Convention and Visitor's Bureau for help attracting that convention to Maine. WCSH-TV is a media sponsor of the effort.
The Bureau says Maine businesses not only benefit from the dollars spent in the state, but also it's more affordable for local people to attend conventions closer to home. According to the Convention and Visitor's bureau, one person in town for a meeting overnight spends an average of $400 a day. And they believe word of mouth goes a long way towards bringing business to the state.
CVB President and CEO Barbara Whitten said, "The Convention and Visitors Bureau does this on a regular basis. But if a local person reaches out, we have a much better chance of bringing that conference here."
Business meetings and conferences pump 260 billion dollars into the national economy every year. Just one percent of it comes to Maine.