Local Economy To Get Boost From Summit With AM-US-Soviet Rdp Bjt
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The summit between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachav and the accompanying press coverage could provide a welcome boost to the local service economy during what officials say is usually a slack time.
″It will help business. December is usually a quiet month. But the city still has plenty of rooms to sell,″ said Muneer Deen, president of the Hotel Association of Washington.
Deen, who is also general manager of the downtown Hotel Washington, said the Dec. 8-10 summit probably will fill about 5,000 of the city’s 18,000 hotel rooms, averaging $83 a night.
″A lot of journalists will be coming and there will be a positive impact on sales tax, hotels. All these folks will be on expense accounts,″ said Richard Siegel, budget director for the District of Columbia government.
″On the other side will be increased security costs, more demonstrations. I don’t know if one will wash the other,″ Siegel said.
City officials said they would not have figures on the potential financial impact of the summit until it is over.
D.C. police and the Secret Service said they would not discuss how many agents or officers would be needed for security or other functions until after the summit.
Costs the city incurs for security or demonstrations hat are related primarily to federal government activities are usually reimbursed by the federal government.
The United States Information Agency, which is handling press credentials, has received close to 5,700 requests for credentials, about one-third of them from foreign journalists, according to Jim Pope of the USIA foreign press center.
″Everything is a hassle, but things are beginning to shake out. Come Dec. 7, we’ll be ready,″ Pope said.
Press centers will be set up at the J.W. Marriott Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue and at the Commerce Department, which are both a few blocks from the White House.
However, the Marriott is not providing any sleeping rooms for the summit because the hotel was already booked up with conventions, according to marketing director Kurt Krause.
He said he could not estimate on how much revenue the summit will generate for the hotel.
″Our first thing is to accommodate the press and then generate revenue,″ Krause said. ″Yes, we will make money as the regular course of doing business, but it is a spectacular event and we are very proud to host it, to be part of history″ said Krause.
Tracy Buswell, a spokeswoman for the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, said news organizations have booked at least 22 of the 843 rooms in the hotel.
″It’s definitely helping, also in the sense that it will be attracting a lot of attention to Washington and from the international media,″ Ms. Buswell said.
While officials welcome the summit, they say what the event will generate will probably not seem unusual in a town that gets 18 million visitors a year.
″What you’ve got is a city that has a huge capacity,″ said Austin Kenney, executive president of the Washington Convention and Vistors Association. ″It would be very difficult to anticipate or notice its impact.″
Tom Rouland, executive vice president of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, also said it would be difficult to assess the impact.
″Washington has so many conventions and so many internatioal events, I don’t know that there would be unique impact in terms of numbers of people,″ Rouland said.
″We have the ability of responding when there is a demand.″