Officials don't expect weekend violence to impact tourism
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Thousands of visitors are in Louisville for a huge convention and thousands more will follow for the NCAA Women's Sweet 16.
70,000 visitors are in town for the Mid-America Trucking Show underway for the next two days at the Expo Center.
People in the trucking industry come to Louisville from around the world for one of the city's biggest annual conventions.
The show is said to have a $14 million economic impact on the local economy.
"This is the first day of the show and we haven't heard anything yet," says show producer Toby Young.
Young was talking about the random violence place Saturday evening in downtown Louisville.
"The safety and security of our visitors is paramount," says Young, "when they come into town we want them to have a good time to be able to enjoy themselves and feel safe."
Kurt Palmer is one of those in Louisville for the trade show.
"I've never had a concern about safety here at all," says Palmer.
Palmer, who leases and sells big trucks, is from Indianapolis and makes frequent visits to Louisville sometimes stays overnight.
"I am just hearing about the violence now, but I would not be concerned about going downtown, I would still feel safe," he says.
Those are the kinds of comments the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau likes to hear.
The city's convention and tourism industry is big business in the Louisville area.
The most recent studies show that more than 12 million people visit the city each year, that results in an economic impact of $1.4 billion and supports 22,000 jobs.
The new CEO of the convention and visitors bureau doesn't think the recent violence will have a negative impact on the city's future convention business.
Karen Williams says she has not received any calls from future conventions inquiring about the downtown violence. She says she has been assured by Mayor Fischer and Police Chief Steve Conrad that downtown security will be increased with a more visible presence by police.
"We will handle this and continue to work very closely with the mayor and the chief," she adds, "but to date we have been fortunate that we have not received any negative comments from our visitors coming in because this is a very busy weekend for Louisville."
Just as the truckers convention wraps up participants and their fans will arrive for the NCAA Women's Sweet 16 to be played downtown at the KFC Yum! Center. That event runs through Tuesday.
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