Atlanta likely to host Rotary International Convention in 2017

By Maria Saporta
Monday, November 9, 2009

The city of Atlanta has tentatively been selected to host the 2017 Rotary International convention.

Competing against four other North American cities, Atlanta leaders have been actively bidding to host the convention, which will attract between 20,000 to 30,000 Rotarians from around the world.

Robert Hall, a past district governor of Rotary, made the announcement at Monday’s Rotary Club of Atlanta luncheon that not only was Atlanta picked as one of the finalists, but that it was the only city that will receive an official site visit.

The final selection of a city is expected to be announced at the Rotary International Convention in June 2010, which will be meeting in Montreal.

The other competing cities included Cleveland; Detroit; Edmonton, Alberta; and Toronto, Ontario. Apparently all the other cities received letters from Rotary International thanking them for the bid proposals, but letting them know that the organization would be going on a site visit to Atlanta.

Hall said Atlanta’s bid was supported by the 12,500 Rotarians throughout Georgia. Then he added: “If it were not for the Atlanta Rotary Club, we would not have gotten this.”

Among the committee that put together Atlanta’s bid were: Spurgeon Richardson, retired president of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Dick Stormont, who has worked in the hotel industry for decades.

What helped Atlanta’s bid was the fact that in 2017, it will be the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Foundation, which was started in Atlanta in 1917. In fact, on the back cover of the bid book, there’s a photo of the delegates at the Eighth Annual Convention of Rotary International standing in Atlanta.

Bill Nordmark, this year’s president of Atlanta Rotary, said this selection “is a big deal” for our city. “Our hospitality industry is second to none,” he said.

Atlanta leaders have pledged to raise $2 million to help defray the costs of hosting the convention. Top business leaders from Atlanta and around the state signed on to support Atlanta’s bid.

The dates of the convention will be June 10-14, 2017, and 7,000 hotel rooms have been set aside within one mile of the Georgia World Congress Center, the site of the convention.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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