Visit Bentonville estimated the economic impact to the city of hosting the International Mountain Biking Association World Summit this year was about $400,000.
The IMBA World Summit (Nov. 9-12) had 525 attendees, including residents of more than 40 states and 11 countries, according to Visit Bentonville.
The benefit to the economy is based on several factors, including estimations of meal costs in area restaurants and the number of hotel rooms rented, taking into account, for instance, the number of attendees who were from within the region, said Kalene Griffith, president of Visit Bentonville.
Griffith said the estimated direct economic impact is “very conservative” and did not factor in the accumulative effect that large-scale events like the IMBA Summit, which brought in more than 100 vendors, can have.
From a meetings perspective, it was one of the most impactful events Bentonville has seen, and it was different in that it allowed for visitors to see different parts of Bentonville, with events at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 21c Museum Hotel, Compton Gardens and the Record, in addition to several trails: Blowing Springs, Slaughter Pen and Coler Park, which is not yet open to the public.
“People got to experience our town, our people, and our hospitality. They got to experience really what’s going on in Bentonville,” said Griffith, who added that the success of the event opens up new potential. In particular, Visit Bentonville intends to “use the momentum of the IMBA World Summit to continue to increase and promote cycling tourism,” according to a press release. “A renowned cyclist referred to Bentonville as the ‘Mecca of Cycling,’ and our community is making continuous efforts to maintain this level of praise. With more than 20 cycling events scheduled for 2017, Bentonville is well on its way to being the premiere cycling destination in the country.”
“IMBA is a game-changer. It has validated the unique meeting opportunity in downtown Bentonville,” Griffith said. “It has huge potential in expanding our city as a meeting destination with a different model giving the attendees a full experience of our city.”