February Conference generates over three-quarters of a million annually for Midcoast
For the past 28 years, the Camden Conference has held a three-day foreign policy conference in Midcoast Maine in February. The Conference is an established and widely respected event with approximately 1,000 participants attending each year. Leading experts from around the world are invited to speak on topics of global importance and interest.
This year, the Camden Conference’s directors commissioned an economic impact study to determine how beneficial the Conference is for businesses and job creation in Midcoast Maine. The study was conducted by Dr. Harold Daniel, associate professor of marketing at the University of Maine Business School, and Dr. Todd Gabe, professor of economics at the University of Maine. Daniels has served as the director of the University of Maine’s System Center for Tourism Research and Outreach (CenTRO). He teaches advertising, marketing research and marketing management, and serves on the editorial board of Industrial Marketing, a leading scholarly journal devoted to investigating the exchange of goods and services among organizations.
Dr. Gabe specializes in regional and community economic development, and teaches courses in development and land-use planning. Gabe has extensive experience in fiscal impact modeling and conducts research on regional economic development projects. He has examined the impacts of the New England biotechnology industry, the harness racing and golf industries on Maine’s economy, and has studied the determinants of investment in rural businesses and the economic impact of cruise ship passengers in Bar Harbor, Maine. In his most recent project, he conducted research on the growth of creative occupations in U.S. metropolitan areas.
Gabe and Daniel’s research demonstrated that attracting people to Midcoast Maine for the annual three-day Camden Conference programs has produced significant economic benefits for the region. At the 2015 conference, attendees spent an estimated $790,000 in funds at local businesses such as restaurants, hotels, B&Bs, stores and on travel and entertainment items.
An additional estimated $300,000 was spent on employment related to the Conference— such as extra employees that were hired by area businesses for the event and for salaried staff that helped produce the Conference. (These figures were derived using the IMPLAN multiplier model.)
The study concluded that the Camden Conference had an overall economic impact of approximately $850 in local spending per attendee and an additional $330 per attendee for labor hired directly and indirectly for the Conference. An estimated 42% of the 2015 Conference attendees stayed in hotels or motels, and these visitors spent an average of 2.1 nights in the area. Attendees that stayed overnight spent, on average, $99 per person per night. This translates into approximately $80,000 in local lodging expenditures alone associated with the implementation of the Camden Conference.
At the 2015 Conference 72% of attendees were from Maine, 9% from Massachusetts and 4% from Connecticut. The people from Maine attending from the top five Maine counties represented were Knox (48%), Waldo (14%), Cumberland (13%), Lincoln (10%) and Hancock (7%).
“We are proud that this terrific yearly event has grown, and that the Conference is attracting people to Maine in the middle of winter when it can be a boon for local businesses,” said Peter Imber, president of the Camden Conference. “We value the support that we receive from area businesses and the community, and fully realize that part of our success, and the reason why our audiences keep returning every year, is because of the warm hospitality and high quality of the experiences visitors have here.”
The Camden Conference is committed to keeping the tickets and events affordable and accessible for everyone who wishes to attend. In order to accomplish this goal, the Conference raises annual contributions and funds from individuals, businesses, foundation grants, and from February’s ticket revenue.
Dr. Daniels will be present to answer questions about the study. Peter Imber, president of the Camden Conference, will speak about the growth of the Conference in recent years and the organization’s commitment to our community. Merlin Miller, a member of the Development Committee, and Karen Cadbury, a member of the Board and the Development Committee, will answer questions about the organization’s fundraising, and Bruce Cole, chair of the Program Committee, will talk about the 2016 topic for the Camden Conference—“The New Africa.”
For more information, please contact Kim Scott at 207-236-1034 or email [email protected].