“We are honored to host RCMA and its members for the 2012 conference,” says Rick Hughes, president, Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association.

“This group in particular, and religious conventions in general, are extremely important to the fabric of meetings in America,” Hughes adds. “We're proud to be such a big part of RCMA's 40th convention.”

Hughes says the convention will have a direct $3.9 million economic impact for Kansas City. “Estimating the indirect impact is much more difficult,” he says, “but definitely the real value will be the meetings business booked here as a result of this conference, and we're very optimistic about that.”

Kansas City is no stranger to religious meetings. Among the many groups that have recently met here or that are lined up for the near future are the Church of God in Christ, the National Baptist Convention, the National Association of Free Will Baptists Inc., the Catholic Youth Conference, and the Mennonite Church U.S.A.

Religious groups appreciate the city's central location (60 percent of the country's population is within a day's driving distance), affordable hotel rooms, and excellent convention facilities.“We're a natural for religious meetings,” Hughes says.

RCMA met in Kansas City in 1976. Of course, a lot has changed since then, but much has also changed in just the last several years as the city winds up a renaissance mission resulting in $5 billion in new facilities, attractions, and infrastructure. RCMA members will be “blown away” by what the city can offer their groups, predicts Hughes, especially the new, world-class cultural attractions.

“We've become the Paris of the Prairie,” Hughes says, re-coining a name that was first used for Chicago. “We're looking forward to showing RCMA members a great destination for their meetings.”

Here's a Look at Some of the Newest Developments:

The newly opened Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, located just south of the convention center, is both a cultural and architectural landmark for the city. The stunning $405 million center is home to the Kansas City Symphony and the Lyric Opera. There's a 1,800-seat theater hall, a 1,600-seat concert hall, as well as the Celebration Hall, which can be used for a variety of events.

Following a $850 million redevelopment project, the eight-block-long Power & Light District is a new entertainment neighborhood with more than 40 dining and entertainment venues. The district links the convention center and the Sprint Center, which opened in 2007 with an 18,500-seat arena, considered one of the top arenas in the country. Connected to the Sprint Center is the new 41,500-square-foot College Basketball Experience, which houses the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art added an eye-catching, all-glass addition in 2007. Called the Bloch Building, it is said to resemble a 67-story building lying on its side. The building houses 165,000-square-feet of new galleries, featuring contemporary and modern art. There are several areas within the museum that can be used for private events, including the beautiful Kirkwood Hall, which accommodates up to 1,000 people.

Part of a recent $150 million expansion of the Kansas City Convention and Entertainment Facilities resulted in one of the largest ballrooms in the country (44,484 square feet). The complex has more than 800,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space, a 10,700-seat auditorium, two theaters, and a conference center.

There are 26,000 hotel rooms in the metropolitan area, and about 3,500 rooms downtown. The largest is the 983-room Kansas City Marriott, adjacent to the convention center. Many downtown hotels have had recent renovations and/or expansions.

Following a recent expansion, the Schlitterbahn Vacation Village Waterpark is one of the largest tubing parks in the world.

Visit Rcmaweb.org To Register for the 2012 Conference

2012 General Session Speakers

RCMA has announced keynote speakers for the 2012 World Conference & Expo. View them here.

Barbecue: The KC Story

Read about the legend of Kansas City Barbeque here