CLEVELAND - The United States Marine Corps is certainly putting its stamp on Cleveland, Ohio. If you go out to Public Square or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, ask around and you may hear, "I'm from Chicago," I'm from Pennsylvania," even, "I'm from North Carolina."
With around 150,000 people now expected to visit Cleveland for Marine Week, city organizations say the city may feel Marine Week's impact for years to come.
"You are seeing these folks coming into town from all different places across the United States. Many of them are visiting their families that are in the Marines and staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants and really experiencing Cleveland for all it has to offer," said Lexi Robinson-Hotchkiss with Positively Cleveland.
Robinson-Hotchkiss believes the visitors coming for Marine Week will help boost tourism in the future, maybe by coming to see those exhibits they may have missed during Marine Week.
Elke Sundermann, who now lives in Arizona, agreed and said, "People who might have a negative connotation to Cleveland, like the 'Mistake on the Lake' and all that kind of stuff, it brings more of a positive feel for it."
A perfect example is Sgt. Jacob Coplan of the Marine Corps. While meeting with people at Public Square, Coplan admitted, "Being from the south, I've never been up north before and I'd heard everybody in the north is just too busy to be nice. That's just a complete rumor, everybody that I've met up in Cleveland has just been the nicest person ever."
Sgt. Coplan said he hasn't gotten a chance to visit places like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet, but he did say he and others may just have to make another trip back.
More tourism equals more money for the city of Cleveland explained Robinson-Hotchkiss. She went on to add all of the hotels in downtown Cleveland are currently booked to capacity for Marine Week.
"Tourism is a big business here in Cleveland… So when folks are out there spending money in our restaurants and staying overnight in our hotels, that's money back in the pocket of Clevelanders and that goes right back into the economy," said Robinson-Hotchkiss.
Clevelandis the only city hosting Marine Week for the 2012 year.