That really is the take away point from the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority’s decision to revamp how it tracks the (alleged) economic impact of conventions that come to town. The UPoR, which questioned the CRVA’s previous methodology explains:

The CRVA will move its research department from human resources – where it was seen as a marketing tool – and into accounting. And for the first time, the tourism authority plans to do follow-up work and see how many people actually attended conventions and how many hotel rooms were used.

In the past, the CRVA has inflated attendance by tens of thousands of people, which in turn led to claims of tens millions of dollars of economic impact. Much of that money likely never materialized.

In other instances, the CRVA added millions of dollars of visitor spending for no apparent reason, as was the case with the 2010 National Rifle Association Convention.

For that convention, the CRVA increased its estimate of spending by 600 percent.

While this is certainly a step in the right direction, the fact remains that the CRVA still has every reason and plenty of opportunity to shade the numbers to make itself look better.

The only thing that will stop that is actual oversight from Charlotte City Council. Good luck with that, as most members seem completely indifferent. Or worse. Like David Howard, for example, who apparently feels his job description does not extend to keeping an eye on agencies like the CRVA:

Council member David Howard, however, isn’t too concerned about the economic impact numbers the CRVA has been reporting to the public for years. “You do your best, and occasionally you overdo it, and occasionally you under-do it,” Howard said.