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Published: Tuesday, 3/31/2009

Toledo area hotels hope for boost from Final Four

BLADE STAFF

Toledo area hotels hope to cash in on the college basketball Final Four tournament to be held this weekend in Detroit.

The Greater Toledo Convention and Visitors Bureau has sent notices to athletic officials, alumni associations, and booster clubs at Villanova University, the University of Connecticut, and the University of North Carolina encouraging them to consider the Toledo area for lodging during the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. The fourth team in the event is Michigan State University. Its campus is just 80 miles from Detroit so few hotel rooms are expected to be used by its fans.

The games Saturday and Monday, which are expected to draw 100,000 basketball fans, are at Ford Field in Detroit.

The Toledo convention bureau contacted 17 local hotels, and all will be offering special NCAA Final Four rates, which vary depending on the hotel.

"We will follow up with hoteliers [today] to see if they are getting any kind of response," said Julie Bolfa, a bureau spokesman. "We're just hoping that with the convention bureau's promotion of this that they'll consider stopping for the night in Toledo on the way to Detroit."

Renee Monforton, a spokesman for the Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the economic impact of the tournament could be $30 million to $50 million.

The Detroit area has 35,000 hotel rooms and nearby Windsor, Ont., has several thousand, Ms. Monforton said.



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