Long Beach Readies for Toyota Grand Prix

The 40th annual Grand Prix is expected to draw in at least 175,000 visitors

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The 40th annual Grand Prix, which is taking place April 11 to April 13, is expected to draw in at least 175,000 visitors, according to race officials. Hetty Chang reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at Noon on Tuesday, April 1, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Apr 1, 2014)

    The countdown is on in Long Beach as the city-wide effort to host the Toyota Grand Prix enters its final stretch.

    The 40th annual Grand Prix, which is taking place April 11 to April 13, is expected to draw in at least 175,000 visitors, according to race officials.

    The event could bring in $30 million to $40 million to the Long Beach economy.

    The three-day event has grown to much more than a racing event, and local businesses know very well it means a big boost to their cash stream.

    At least one restaurant told NBC4 that 15 percent of its annual business is made during Grand Prix weekend.

    "We have a lot of banquets, big banquets. They come to L'opera," said the executive chef at L'Opera restaurant. "That's why it brings a lot of people to us."

    "We know what the Grand Prix does for the city, and what it can do for our business," said Matt Cadle of Pier 76, which is opening its new location on Pine Avenue this week. "It was mandatory that we make the move now and be open as soon as possible and be ready to rock for the Grand Prix."

    Hotels are also looking forward to Long Beach's largest annual event.

    "We fill 95.7 percent of the occupancy of the first class hotels," said Jim Michaelian, president of the Grand Prix Association. "Automatically you can see there's a substantial revenue. It's going to be a great weekend."

    The Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) said it uses the Grand Prix as a major selling hook to bring in more conventions.

    In fact, this year, the CVB is hosting 60 professional planners during the event, which could represent a potential $52 million in future economic impact for the city.

     

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