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Renovated Mayo Civic Center lures new conventions to Rochester

Renovated Mayo Civic Center lures new conventions to Rochester

New bookings are up 32 percent for the recently-renovated Mayo Civic Center, according to an annual report presented Monday by the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The venue — which held a grand opening for its $84 million expansion back in May — has booked 26 new conventions and events through the next 28 months. Those include annual conferences for the Botanical Society of America and American Society of Biomechanics. All together, these new events are expected to bring 27,000 new visitors to Rochester.

The upgraded facility now boasts more than 200,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space — double the amount of space previously available. It also features Minnesota's largest ballroom, with a seating capacity of up to 3,600 people.

In 2016, conventions and sporting events accounted for 15 percent of Rochester's tourism (Mayo Clinic was the leader at 69 percent).

Also included in the annual report:

  • Rochester hosted more than 3 million overnight visitors in 2016, and the overall economic impact of visitors on the community was estimated at $1.3 billion.
  • Hospitality/tourism continues to be the city's second largest industry, behind health care. It accounted for 14,400 full-time jobs in 2016, according to the report.
  • Rochester added 211 new hotels room in 2016, bringing the city's total number of rooms to 5,945 (at 58 total hotels). About a third of the city's hotel rooms are connected to the skyway.

And finally, get ready to ditch the "Rah Rah Rochester." The RCVB expects to roll out its new branding strategy by the end of 2017. It's part of a joint effort by the RCVB, Mayo Civic Center and Rochester Amateur Sports Commission.

Not only will the slogan change, but perhaps the name of the civic center, as well. The organizations are paying a Boston firm $150,000 to develop the new branding.

You can view a summary of the 2017 report here.

Cover photo: File / Med City Beat

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