For the first time in its 65-year history, the Miss World pageant is coming to the United States.

Its destination: The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just across the river from the nation’s capital, where contestants from 140 countries will compete for a gilded crown, bringing in an estimated $20 million to the local economy.

“This is even better than the Super Bowl,” said Jim Coleman, president and chief executive of the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corp., which has been lobbying for the event for nearly a year. “This is a huge win for our county.”

The pageant will culminate in a grand finale at Gaylord National on Dec. 18.

For a sporting event like the Super Bowl, Coleman said local governments would have had to offer large tax breaks and other concessions to attract athletes and attendees for a one-day event.

The pageant required no such incentives, Coleman said, and has a much broader reach.

“We’re talking about five days of nonstop exposure,” said Coleman, who served as a judge at this year’s Miss World America competition at the Gaylord National in July. “How many other events get you that kind of international impact? If we had to pay for this amount of advertising, it would’ve cost us half a billion dollars.”

Coleman expects the contestants to contribute between $5 million and $8 million to the county during their stay. (”If we can get them to the Tanger Outlets, that could mean another $1.5 million to $2 million,” he said, referring to the nearby outlet mall.)

Coleman said he is in talks with Miss World organizers to host the pageant at the Gaylord National for another three years.

In addition to the usual line-up – the talent show, a fitness assessment and interview rounds – participants will also have to present a charitable project and take part in a multimedia challenge to show “a deep understanding of all forms of media,” including Facebook, Twitter and television news. The pageant nixed its swimsuit competition two years ago.