Milwaukee becomes first city to win back-to-back Democratic and Republican national conventions since 1972
MILWAUKEE (Aug. 5, 2022) — Today the Republican National Committee officially confirmed that Milwaukee will host its 2024 convention, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars in near- and long-term economic benefit to the hospitality industry, which serves Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike. This convention will become a boon for these businesses, which employ tens of thousands of hardworking Milwaukeeans who create the vibrant quality of life both residents and visitors enjoy.
“I am excited to announce Milwaukee as the host city for the 2024 Republican National Convention,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. “Milwaukee is a world-class city, and we are eager to see it shine in the spotlight come 2024. I look forward to working with the members of the Republican National Committee, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, the Milwaukee Host Committee, and Visit Milwaukee to deliver an incredible convention for our Party and nominate the next President of the United States.”
Beyond the economic boost, the Republican National Convention will positively elevate the profile of our city throughout the world, attracting other major events and conventions to southeastern Wisconsin, and leading to more business and more money invested in our economy. This helps every resident and business in our region.
Proof can be found in previous convention cities. Since Cleveland hosted this convention in 2016, meeting leads have nearly doubled. Cleveland also attributes its landing of the 2021 NFL Draft, the 2019 MLB All-Star Game and the 2022 NBA All-Star game in part because of the vetting from the RNC.
Other lasting effects will benefit Milwaukeeans year-round. In 2012, for that year’s Republican National Convention, cellular providers collectively invested millions in Tampa Bay’s data networks. In the lead-up to Cleveland’s RNC, AT&T alone invested tens of millions in wireless and wired network upgrades. Upgrades like these could improve the quality of life for all Milwaukeeans.
These kind of investments and exposure equates to growth in our community, and that growth creates more visitors, more residents, and a more prosperous Milwaukee. This is the growth Milwaukee deserves, and the 2024 Republican National Convention is a key component to get us there.
“At VISIT Milwaukee, we promote tourism to generate economic growth that ultimately creates a better, stronger Milwaukee. It’s our job to pursue conventions that don’t just bring us hard dollars, but those that will bring prestige and exposure that will ultimately enhance our reputation as an amazing place to visit, work, and live,” says VISIT Milwaukee President & CEO Peggy Williams-Smith. “Bringing this convention to Milwaukee was the result of sustained collaboration from a statewide, bipartisan coalition that deeply loves our community and believes in the results this convention will deliver. We are thrilled to get to work with our community and hospitality partners to help the RNC’s planners pull off their best convention yet.”
Convention planning will soon be underway and VISIT Milwaukee, along with its community partners, will announce informational sessions to help local businesses stay on top of Republican National Convention news as well as find helpful information about how to get involved.
In another show of the local hospitality industry’s collaborative nature, many of the community and hospitality leaders involved in Milwaukee’s winning bid offered their thoughts on what this historic win will mean for the Greater Milwaukee area:
Marty Brooks, president and CEO, Wisconsin Center District:
“Large-scale events are everyday business for the Wisconsin Center, Miller High Life Theatre and UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, but having the newly expanded Wisconsin Center featured on the world’s stage during the 2024 RNC is an opportunity which cannot be underestimated. The chance to deliver our signature Bold, Proud, Experience Obsessed level of service to the tens of thousands of attendees and millions of media impressions is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to earn future business for our venues and our city. I can’t wait to show the world what we all already know: Milwaukee is a sensational city with world-class hospitality, and we are ready to give RNC guests and attendees an amazing experience.”
Peter Feigin, president, Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum:
“We are proud for Fiserv Forum to host the Republican National Convention, which will significantly elevate the arena’s profile as a world-class venue. The RNC will serve as a great symbol of future growth for Milwaukee and will continue to prominently show that our city and arena can expertly and successfully host premier events.”
Tim Sheehy, president, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce:
“We are proud to welcome the Republican National Convention to Milwaukee in 2024. This represents another step forward for our region as an internationally recognized destination with the people, vibrant entertainment venues, infrastructure and expertise it takes to successfully host large-scale events. We congratulate the team at VISIT Milwaukee for their leadership in securing this opportunity. It is remarkable for an American city to secure two straight major party nominating conventions – a ringing endorsement for everything Milwaukee has to offer. This convention will directly benefit Milwaukee businesses and their employees. And it’s another chance for Milwaukee to shine in an international spotlight.”
Michael Evans, president, Marcus Hotels & Resorts:
“It is no surprise Milwaukee is the first choice for the Republican National Convention (RNC) selection committee as there is much to love here – incredible people, gorgeous lakefront, dining for every palate, an inspiring cultural and arts scene and some of the best hotels in the country. As a company and community that have the expertise, spaces, and people to deliver truly memorable experiences, we delight in rolling out the red carpet for our visitors. Our three Milwaukee hotels – The Pfister, Hilton Milwaukee City Center and Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel – along with our restaurants, bars, and surrounding properties in southern Wisconsin, will be ready to welcome the RNC in 2024. Congratulations to Mayor Johnson, the Wisconsin delegation, VISIT Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Center District for their continued success in marketing Milwaukee as a destination of choice.”
Mark Flaherty, managing partner, Jackson Street Holdings:
“Jackson Street Holdings and the Marriott Collection hotels are pleased that Milwaukee has been chosen for the RNC. Great news!”
Rose Murack, general manager, Radisson Hotel Milwaukee West:
“We are ‘over the top’ excited to have Milwaukee host the 2024 RNC! We, as a city, are prepared for it, ready to welcome visitors, and give everyone the best experience possible. This event will bring in thousands of people, staying in our hotels, shopping, visiting our museums, eating in our restaurants, and of course drinking in our bars. A definite moneymaker for all of us, not only Milwaukee, but all the surrounding suburbs as well will benefit from Milwaukee hosting the RNC. The long-term positive impact on our community will be far reaching as well. Welcome to Milwaukee, RNC! Great choice for the 2024 convention!
Himanshu Parikh, owner, Country Inn & Suites and Holiday Inn & Suites at Milwaukee Airport
“The 2024 RNC will give us an opportunity to showcase the development and transformation of Milwaukee over the last two decades. This conference will put Milwaukee on the map for future development and world travel. Trusting Milwaukee’s ability to host a conference of this magnitude portrays confidence and support to re-ignite hotel investments in Milwaukee and a reward to the hard work and efforts of the service industry team.”
Shari Black, CEO, Wisconsin State Fair:
“Milwaukeeans and Wisconsinites are humble about our great city and state because that’s in our nature, but we have world-class restaurants, amazing entertainment venues, and of course the best Fairs and Festivals in the country! This city knows how to entertain, and considering the recent resurgence of the hospitality industry, this is the perfect time to host an event like the RNC. Attendees will add even more fuel to this resurgence, which in turn will create more opportunities within the industry. The economic footprint this event creates will have a lasting impact for many years to come and we can’t wait to be part of it.”
Don Smiley, chief executive officer, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.:
“For many members in our hospitality, service, and entertainment industries, hosting a monumental event like the 2024 Republican National Convention will have an unequivocal positive impact on our community. Milwaukee has a legacy of hosting large scale events, bringing the community together, and showcasing our reputation as the City of Festivals. We look forward to working with the RNC, VISIT Milwaukee and others as we welcome thousands of attendees to our great city.”
Paul Bartolotta, two-time James Beard Award-Winning Chef and Owner/Co-Founder of The Bartolotta Restaurants:
“With the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, we have a unique opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to excellence in hospitality and our best-in-class service to the thousands of visitors that will be experiencing our city for the first time. I’m looking forward to working with our incredible partners and the businesses that comprise the fabric of our community as we once again show why Milwaukee is the ideal destination for events taking place on the global stage.”
Kurt Fogle, partner, Dairyland Old-Fashioned Hamburgers & Frozen Custard:
“We should highlight Milwaukee’s potential every way we can, and at every opportunity. The RNC, like the DNC, or an all-star game, Super Bowl, or any other national championship brings us all kinds of people who otherwise might not think to visit Milwaukee. I believe if the world sees what we see, it will secure Milwaukee’s inclusion among the world-class cities.”
Omar Shaikh, owner of Carnevor and co-owner/founder of 3rd Street Market Hall:
“While the 2024 Republican National Convention will provide an immediate economic boost to the hospitality industry, the exposure this convention brings will benefit our city for years to come. This convention will spur growth in Milwaukee which will in turn create a stronger metro area. I couldn’t be more proud to welcome this convention to our amazing city.”
Bobby Wiltgen, owner/co-founder, Cream City Concepts:
“We are thrilled to be able to help showcase how amazing Milwaukee is on an international stage! As a company we have built three restaurants and five Airbnb units within a block from the Fiserv Forum. We are locally owned, putting dollars back into our local economy. Our entire team, from ownership, management and front-line staff are grateful to be able to be a part of the Great Milwaukee Narrative. This is an ongoing story of hard work, humility, dedication to our craft, and supporting our city with our hearts and souls. Speaking from my heart personally, this is all part of an American Dream that is continually unfolding for me. And I am thankful to have the chance to experience it. Having this caliber of convention Milwaukee isn’t about politics, it’s about how Milwaukee is no longer a secret when it comes to events, entertainment, dining, and tourism. I believe the Cream City Concepts team truly embodies the heart, soul, and values of Milwaukee, and we’re ready to show it for the world.”
David Caruso, owner, Dynamic Events by David Caruso:
“This is a game changer for our city! The positive impact on our neighborhoods, the people, and our businesses, will be immeasurable. It’s an opportunity for all of us to work together and to welcome the RNC with open arms. Get ready, Milwaukee – our moment has arrived!”
Theresa Nemetz, owner, Milwaukee Food & City Tours:
“The opportunity for Milwaukee to shine during RNC not only is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our city but will have a ripple effect for years to come. Visitors as well as viewers at home will have the chance to explore Milwaukee and return for more in-depth vacations with their families and corporate meetings with their clients in the future. Whether our role with RNC will be to provide transportation, tours, or logistical support, we cannot wait to welcome RNC delegates and attendees to Milwaukee in 2024.”
To download Milwaukee images and the convention logo used throughout the bid process, click here. For additional information or to schedule an interview, please email Claire Koenig at [email protected].
About VISIT Milwaukee
VISIT Milwaukee is a community asset that markets the destination as a top choice for business, convention, and leisure travel to national and international visitors to increase the economic impact of tourism in the region. VISIT Milwaukee has over 750 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services, and area businesses. The Wisconsin Center District, which is undergoing a large-scale expansion slated for completion in 2024, and Potawatomi Hotel & Casino are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call (800) 554-1448 or visit https://www.visitmilwaukee.org/.