Three Ottumwa hotels agreed to provide 160 block rooms for the three-day conference: Hampton Inn, Quality Inn and AmericInn. A projected 300 people are expected to attend the conference, including convention and visitors bureau officials, tourism groups, historical societies, county conservation boards, hoteliers and more.
The conference will provide professional and volunteer development as well as continuing education.
It will also benefit the city of Ottumwa and its residents, Eckman said.
"We've got hotel/motel revenue for the properties themselves, as well as the hotel/motel tax collected by the city," he said. "There's additional spending visitors leave behind in the community for the businesses and Local Option Sales Tax, and there's also revenue collected by Bridge View Center, Inc."
The most important benefit to southeast Iowa, though, is how attendees will be able to market the region to the traveling public once they leave.
"It's very hard to calculate but it's very, very valuable," he said. "First hand experience at destinations is critical, especially if you're really trying to promote a positive image of a community."
Lippincott said the conference will give attendees an experience they've never had before, as they bounce between Ottumwa and Fairfield to showcase "what it means to live in southern and southeast Iowa."
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