UPDATED: 8:00 am CDT June 9, 2011
"This is the third year in a row that we've had Fort Smith on our national convention city list," said Herbert Wight, of the Jehovah's Witnesses group. "A number of reasons: One, geographically it's located well for us because most of the delegates are coming from the state of Arkansas. But also because we have in Fort Smith a very nice convention center. But then you have to have a place to house all the delegates, so we have a variety of lodging accommodations."
The local economy should see a boost with the incoming delegates.
"When you bring 11,00 people over three weekends to a city, there's going to be an uptick in sales hotel-motel accommodations. And you know a lot of the delegates are coming from smaller cities, smaller than Fort Smith, so there will be a bit of shopping that will be done," Wight said.
Operators of the Holiday Inn across from the convention center say they're packed.
"We're sold out for the next three nights and the Thursday, Friday, Saturday for the next three weekends. So during the week we have some availability, but on weekends we don't at this time," said Ramona Moon, who is the Holiday Inn's sales manager.
Moon said money spent in Fort Smith by hotel guests makes a big impact.
"They estimate that every guest spends at least $135 a day when they come into the Arkansas area. Everybody benefits when these large groups come in," Moon said.
Copyright 2011 4029tv.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.