RNC delegation tours Charlotte for possible 2020 convention

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — All eyes were on Charlotte in 2012 when the city hosted the Democratic National Convention, and now the Queen City says it’s ready to host the Republican National Convention.

A special RNC delegation toured Charlotte on Tuesday. Officials threw the city's name in the hat for consideration as a host city in February.

[Charlotte preparing bid to host 2020 Republican National Convention]

Mohammad Jenatian, president of the Greater Charlotte Hospitality and Tourism Alliance, said the RNC slipped through Charlotte’s hands in 2016, but he said the city is ready now.

“The greatest thing is we have Republican leaders for the state of North Carolina that are getting behind us and they are embracing the idea, and that’s gonna be significantly important,” Jenatian said.

Jenatian believes the RNC delegation came to Charlotte hoping to answer a few key questions.

“How accessible is your city, where is your convention center and arena located, how do people get around?” Jenatian said.

The CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, Michael Smith, said the success of the DNC is proof that Charlotte has what it takes.

“We had 4,500 hotel rooms (in uptown) then. We will likely have 7,500 hotel rooms by the time we get to 2020,” Smith said, adding that there will be even more rooms available across Mecklenburg County.

Leaders said the DNC brought more than $160 million to Charlotte and they said it elevated Mecklenburg County’s tourism industry. Since 2012, the sales tax revenue has spiked by 92 percent; food and beverage dollars by more than 103 percent. Leaders also believe it was a catalyst for bringing jobs to Charlotte.

“These are big opportunities when you’re able to bring business-thought elected leaders to your community and introduce them to who Charlotte is. It’s an unmatched opportunity,” Smith said.

The DNC brought 35,000 people to Charlotte. It was the single largest event in the city’s history.