RALEIGH – April and May were busy months at the Raleigh Convention Center downtown with conferences, conventions and other special events.
Officials say foot traffic was up about 13 percent over the same time last year.
Over Memorial Day weekend, about 7,000 people attended Animazement, a three-day convention for Japanese animation fans. It's one of the largest anime events in the region that attracts people from all over.
"We had a young lady from Eugene, Oregon who traveled just this week, found out about it this past week, came this week to be with us," Animazement Assistant Director Bob Dockery said. "So, they come mostly from the East Coast, but not just from North Carolina."
The convention caps off a busy two months for the convention center, where events were happening almost every day. As a result, officials say the tourism dollars brought in went up more than 40 percent from the same time in 2009. And the economic impact of all the events topped $8 million.
"Always something going on, and what we don't get from the out-of-town scene, we're trying very hard to work from the local organizations that might need a day meeting," Laurie Okun, sales director at the Raleigh Convention Center, said.
Animazement has signed an agreement with the convention center to come back each memorial day weekend through 2018. And the event is expected to grow every year.
"It was really amazing. I do want to come back next year," convention goer Cierria Ellis said. "I don't care how much it costs, I will come back next year."