Business takes off despite delay of aerobatics competition

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DENISON, TX-Pilots who came to the World Aerobatics Championships at the North Texas Regional Airport are still grounded because of the rain, but that's not keeping the local economy down. In fact, area hotels and restaurants have been experiencing a boom in business.

The competition was postponed for the fourth day in a row Tuesday as more than an inch of rain fell onto the tarmac. But experts said the bad weather gave pilots and visitors the chance to contribute to the local economy bringing in over a million dollars to the city of Denison.

"One of the judges said it's not that bad because they've had contests where they've not flown at all and that gives them a chance to do some sight seeing and see Texas and the United States. If they're flying all the time, they wouldn't have that chance," said NTRA's Mike Shahan.

He said pilots and visitors kept themselves busy by shopping at area businesses, visiting museums and area attractions helping the local economy take off.

"It had a positive impact, because when they're grounded they had that opportunity to go spend money in our community. So they've been shopping, people have seen them everywhere. Obviously they're in the restaurants regardless."

Denison Chamber of Commerce's Anna McKinney said even with the rain, the aerobatic competition brought in $1.5 million in revenue to the city, keeping area restaurants busy and local hotels full like the Denison Hampton Inn.

"The hotel has been full and we're full through the coming weekend."

Hotel manager, Douglas Bradley, said they had to send hundreds of people to other hotels in surrounding areas. He was also expecting more calls especially with the American Strongman Competition and the Texoma Striper Challenge coming up this week.

"We're having a very strong October and we'll probably top last October by at least $20,000 or $30,000 with the addition of these groups," he said.

"This is I think a first to have this number of visitors just consistently," said McKinney.

McKinney said the economic boom not just a win for Denison but also for the rest of Texoma.

"It's been major and these are new dollars that will continue to turn over in our community," she said.

Despite the delays in the World Aerobatic Championships, Shahan said the competition will still finish up Saturday.

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