Tupelo’s hotels booked, rental cars gone

Tupelo is hosting a big-time gymnastics competition this weekend – the 2009 USA Gymnastics Women’s Junior Olympic Level 9 Eastern Championships – and all signs point to it being a large financial boon to the city.

Neal McCoy, the sports development director with the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, expects the event will bring at least $250,000 in economic impact to the city. He told the Biz today he’d be surprised if it doesn’t reach $500,000 because at least 300 gymnasts and 200 coaches are in town from all states east of the Mississippi River. It’s the first time, in his knowledge, that all of the rental cars in town are booked and the companies had to get cars from other cities.

Plus, hotels are booked.

And look what I found on the competition’s Web site a minute ago:

Call daily as cancellations are occuring.
IF YOU BOOKED A ROOM THROUGH EXPEDIA, HOTELS.COM, TRAVELOCITY, ETC. AND NOT DIRECTLY WITH THE HOTELS IN TUPELO, CALL THE HOTEL DIRECTLY FOR CONFIRMATION. THESE INTERNET SERVICES WERE BOOKING ROOMS THIS AM AND THE HOTELS DID NOT HAVE AVAILABILITY. FIFTY PLUS ROOM WERE BOOKED AT THE HOLIDAY INN THIS MORNING, AND THEY HAVE BEEN SOLD OUT FOR WEEKS.

Besides the economic event, the event looks like it’s going to be a fun spectator sport if you like watching gymnastics during the Olympics. The competitors this weekend are two levels below the Olympics (Level 9 –> Level 10 –> Elite –> Olympics). The event is open to the public and free until 4 p.m. today. Competitions start tomorrow at 9 a.m. and run all weekend. Daily tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for kids and seniors. Here’s the schedule.