The 66th annual N.C. Healthcare Engineers Association meeting takes place in Wilmington this week, bringing with it a sizable economic impact, according to a news release from Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Based on registration information provided by event organizers, it's estimated that the event could generate direct spending of about $1.2 million, said Kim Hufham, president and CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority, in the release.
Using a 2.5 multiplier, the total economic impact of this event is estimated at more than $3 million, CVB officials said in the release.
The total economic impact combines estimated visitor spending on lodging, transportation, food and beverage, retail and business services, Wilmington CVB spokeswoman Connie Nelson said Wednesday.
“Wilmington’s Convention District has grown since we last hosted this group. We are especially excited to showcase all the new hotels, restaurants and amenities along the northern riverfront, as well as Wilmington and our island beaches, which was recently designated as a TripAdvisor 2018 Top Destination on the Rise,” Hufham said.
About 1,000 people, along with family members and guests, are attending the conference, which started Tuesday and runs through Friday. Core meetings and functions are at the Wilmington Convention Center, and a golf tournament also takes place at Brunswick Forest's Cape Fear National.
N.C. Healthcare Engineers Association (NCHEA) is a not-for-profit incorporated association that serves and promotes the health care engineering profession.
In April 2010, the association became the first group to sign a contract with the Wilmington Convention Center, which opened that year.
Prior to the convention center's opening, there was "no coastal facility in the state large enough to host NCHEA annual meetings," officials said in the release.
A multi-year contract, this year’s event is the second time that NCHEA has hosted its annual meeting in Wilmington. The organization’s first meeting at the Wilmington Convention Center was in 2014, officials said.
NCHEA also has created a scholarship for Cape Fear Community College, which will be presented on Friday. The scholarship is part of the organization's effort to incorporate a community outreach project during its annual conference.
“It’s a big convention for our area, and we are really excited that they chose our destination for their coastal meeting," Nelson said.
Other large events at the Wilmington Convention Center this year included the annual meeting of N.C. Bar Association in June, which drew about 800 people, and the U.S. Sweet Potato Council's national convention in January, which had about 500 attendees, Nelson said.