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Republican National Convention crowd could reach 60,000

7:38 PM, Aug 7, 2012   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Since it was announced the Republican National Convention would be coming to town, officials said expect the event to draw about 50,000 people.

But now that number could be higher, much higher.

Hotel bookings are the reason officials believe more people could be coming than originally estimated.

"We're approaching 100,000 rooms for the convention. We thought we'd be in the 70 to 80,000 range. We're already above 90,000 and I think that number is going to go higher as we get closer to the convention," Tampa Bay Host Committee CEO Ken Jones said on Tuesday.

Jones says the numbers suggest one of three things: more people are coming, some are arriving earlier and others are staying longer.

The 100,000 number represents the total number of hotel room nights booked for the convention.

But the General Manager at The Westin Tampa Bay is quick to point out the added bookings benefit more than just the hotel operators.

"It's all the peripheral business that we'll realize from it, the extra food and beverage which will yes, put a lot of additional gratuities in the pockets of our associates and we're happy for them," Ron Alichandro told 10 News.

So how many people could be in town when the convention gets underway on August 27?

"It could push as high as 55 or 60,000," Jones said.  

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