By Angela Monroe
PALM SPRINGS — The Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association summit is bringing thousands of people to the valley and one of those in attendance is actor and part-time pilot Harrison Ford.
More than 80 airplanes are parked on the streets around the Palm Springs Convention Center.
The summit has 100 hours of education and other seminars throughout next three days.
Actor Harrison Ford will be at the summit Thursday night doing a question and answer session with the AOPA’s president, Craig Fuller.
“Harrison Ford is a fantastic advocate for general aviation, he’s a pilot, he flies fixed wing airplanes as well as helicopters and he’s been a fantastic supporter for us. And also he’ll be here tomorrow for our Friday morning keynote, and also talk with Craig and the rest of our attendees about how he thinks general aviation is doing and what he thinks is important,” said AOPA’s vice president of communications, Katie Pribyl.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association summit is Palm Springs largest convention.
More than 10,000 attendees are filling up local hotels and restaurants.
The summit is off to a soaring start, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association landed back in Palm Springs for the first time since 2006.
“We were able to attract them back because of all the reinvestment that’s been done here in the city of Palm Springs, our hotels, our downtown, there’s been over two million dollars in reinvestment thanks to efforts by the city and our business partners,” said executive director of the Palm Springs Convention Center & Bureau of Tourism, James Canfield.
The AOPA is providing a great economic takeoff for the start of our season.
“When we come to town we bring about ten million dollars of economic activity over this week, and so we’re really excited that we could bring that to Palm Springs, this city has been so fantastic to work with,” said Pribyl.
The large groups of people are welcome visitors to downtown stores and restaurants.
“We’ve actually seen a huge increase in business, especially yesterday, we’ve had a large turnout especially for lunch, large parties for dinner so it’s been a great turnout for us here,” said Lulu California Bistro manager, Carissa Sarris.
Most large hotels like the Hilton are completely booked.
And the AOPA has committed to fly into town again in 2014.
“The commitment is in excess of 10,000 rooms, for 2012 it’s only 6,000 rooms, so we will have a huge, huge growth in 2014,” said Hilton Palm Springs general manager, Aftab Dada who is also PS Resorts Chairman.
The summit is propelling millions of dollars into our area, and promise more when they come back down the runway in 2014.
The Convention Center and Bureau of Tourism says they hope to bring the AOPA to Palm Springs every other year.
The summit runs through Saturday