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National Speech and Debate Tournament shatters Overland Park record

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Overland Park, Kansas - Showcasing some of the brightest and most talented students from around the country, the National Speech & Debate Tournament is the largest academic competition in the world. From June 15-20, Overland Park will play host to almost 7,000 students, coaches, and educators from around the country, garnering a record 17,800 hotel room nights over the week-long tournament.

This is the largest hotel room block ever secured in Overland Park's history and economic impact is expected to generate over $5 million. About 85% of Overland Park's entire hotel inventory will be utilized for the event.

Previously, the largest group by hotel room night was the US Youth Soccer National Championship in 2013 with 8,800 rooms.

"Overland Park is thrilled to host such a prestigious event," said Kelly Peetoom, vice president of sales for the Overland Park Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The magnitude of this event has required tremendous collaboration within our hospitality community. We are also very excited for the group to be one of the first to utilize our brand new entertainment district, Prairiefire, when they celebrate the vast achievements of their participants."

"The National Speech & Debate Tournament is the capstone event for our students; they work countless hours throughout the year to prepare for this competition," said Scott Wunn, executive director of the National Speech & Debate Association. "Some of our largest and most respected speech and debate programs are in the heartland, we are proud to showcase Overland Park to our members."

For complete event information, visit www.speechanddebate.org/nationals.

About Overland Park, Kansas
Located in the Kansas City metro area and in the heart of the country, Overland Park offers visitors the perfect blend of metropolitan amenities and Midwestern hospitality. This second-largest city in the State of Kansas boasts upscale shopping, unique attractions, premier museums, over 250 restaurants and a brand new entertainment district, Prairiefire. For more information, visit www.visitoverlandpark.com.

About the National Speech & Debate Association
The National Speech & Debate Association is the largest interscholastic speech and debate organization serving middle school, high school, and collegiate students in the United States. The Association provides competitive speech and debate activities, high-quality resources, comprehensive training, scholarship opportunities, and advanced recognition to more than 130,000 students and coaches every year. For nearly 90 years, the National Speech & Debate Association has empowered more than 1.4 million members to become engaged citizens, skilled professionals, and honorable leaders in our society. For more information, visit www.speechanddebate.org.

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