7,000 of the world’s top minds will descend on Waterloo Region starting this weekend.

They’ll be attending Congress 2012, which runs from Saturday through June 2nd.

General Manager of Waterloo Region Tourism, Tracey Desjardins tells 570 News, the event is expected to pump at least $7,000,000 into the local economy.

According to Desjardins – that number is a conservative estimate, “We didn’t have a full breakdown on what countries they’re coming from.  Also, (the calculation) was based on a 7-day average (visit).”

That’s not factoring in spending money on gifts or retail stores.  Desjardins said, “It’s very minor from accommodations and a couple of meals per day, so we know that impact is going to be bigger.”

“I just want to welcome everybody, and want to thank all the tourism partners, academic partners, and municipal partners for making this such a reality.”

Desjardins says Waterloo Region Tourism is thrilled to host every one of the visitors, “I think it’s a great testament to our universities and all the people who work behind the scenes to make this happen.”

If you’re one of the many people visiting the region during Congress 2012, Desjardins says there are all kinds of things to do to keep you busy.

“If you’re an outdoor recreational enthusiast, we have a tremendous amount of trails, we’ve set up some tours that we’re running, and if you go online to www.explorewaterlooregion.ca there is a special Congress 2012 landing page.”

Some of the events and activities going on in the Region during Congress 2012 include the New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale, the Waterloo Air Show, and the Quilt & Fibre Art Festival.

The yearly Congress is organized by the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences. It brings together academics of many disciplines.

Congress 2012 is being hosted by the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University and runs from Saturday May 26th until Saturday June 2nd.