As co-lead of the host committee bringing the Republican National Convention to Jacksonville, JAX Chamber President and CEO Daniel Davis said his focus is helping local businesses secure service contracts for the event.
“If you think about the hardest-hit industry from COVID-19, it’s our hospitality and our service industry. We have a unique opportunity to welcome thousands and thousands of people to our community,” Davis said.
Davis, who filed paperwork June 9 with the state to create 2020 Jacksonville Host Committee Inc., said in a June 16 interview he was asked to serve on the nonprofit committee by Mayor Lenny Curry.
The chamber doesn’t have an official role in the event, but Davis said his connections have resulted in emails, texts and calls with business owners interested in registering.
In the interview, Davis wouldn’t go beyond the $100 million in estimated economic impact the committee cited in its RNC announcement last week when asked the total value of the vendor and service contracts for the RNC.
“We have numbers, but I’m not going to discuss those,” Davis said. “We’re not going to limit the amount of work that can be out there. There’s going to be so much, and it’s all of Northeast Florida. You’re going to have from Amelia Island down to Flagler (County) is going to be busy with people.”
Davis said he’s not worried about furloughs and layoffs of 608 hospitality workers announced this week by the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Downtown and the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach just two months before the Aug. 24-27 convention.
“These are professionals that have been in business a long time. They know how to react to the market,” he said. “They’re going to be prepared.”
Davis also declined to provide the national GOP’s estimates given to the host committee of the number of people expected to travel to Northeast Florida for the RNC.
Republican Party of Duval County Executive Director Andrew Johnson said June 16 that VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena will hold 12,000 to 15,000 people the night of President Donald Trump’s speech “depending on the stage setup.”
“But as far as the number that will come to the convention, it will greatly exceed that,” Johnson said.