As the city of Oxford continues preparations for September's presidential debate, many local hotels are already beginning to fill vacancies for that week.
Although the Sept. 26 event is still eight months away, many hotels and motels have either filled up or are filling up quickly, and the influx of reservations shows no signs of slowing down.
Out of 651 available rooms in Oxford, 312 are explicitly booked, and the remaining 339 during that week are vacant or undetermined.
Oxford Mayor Richard Howorth said the debate will have a tremendous effect on the city of Oxford and its residents.
"Hosting what will be a logistically complex event will require a lot of planning and the will to ensure that the debate commission and all the associated guests, one of whom will be a future president, enjoy superb hospitality," Howorth said.
Max Hipp, CEO and president of the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce, said media will be swarming throughout the city and a broad range of people, from technical assistants to presidential candidates, will be in the area.
"It will be a win-win with both the city of Oxford and the university," Hipp said.
The positive exposure may also enhance Oxford's reputation, Hipp said.
"It's worth a tremendous amount of money if you were to put it in public relations terms," Hipp said.
The city will be flourishing with outsiders, causing a rise in business for local merchants and a possible boom in the city's economy, he said.
"The debate will be remembered for a long time in Oxford, and we will do everything possible to make sure that it's a positive memory on the minds of visitors and citizens alike," Howorth said.
© 2008 Daily Mississippian via U-WIRE