This is National Travel and Tourism Week, and we are celebrating the occasion by showcasing the impact of the U.S. travel industry and its ability to jump-start our economy.
Travel and tourism is one of America’s largest industries, contributing $1.8 trillion to our national economy and supporting 14 million American jobs. In 2010, it delivered $118 billion in tax revenues. In fact, without travel and tourism’s contribution to the tax base, each household would be taxed an additional $1,000 per year.
Closer to home, travel and tourism is the third largest industry in Kansas. Six million people visit Wichita each year. In 2010, they put $662 million into our local economy. They paid $56 million in taxes to the city of Wichita, Sedgwick County and the state of Kansas.
Travel and tourism provides employment for 11,200 people in the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area, creating a payroll of $170 million.
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And we have already seen evidence that the recently opened Kansas Star Casino is bringing more visitors to south-central Kansas. The casino created 1,600 construction jobs and will eventually result in 1,000 permanent jobs. It is also estimated that the casino will bring $289 million in new money into the state.
Business travelers from around the world visit Wichita to meet with our aircraft industry or with companies such as Koch Industries Inc. These meetings serve to strengthen business relationships and lead to economic growth.
Travel is an important aspect of Wichita’s overall growth. As business executives learn more about Wichita’s quality of life, a seed is planted that can ultimately lead to a decision that brings new jobs as a company expands or relocates in our area.
Conventions are also a vital part of the local travel and tourism industry.
In 2011, Wichita hosted 358 meetings, conventions and events with a direct economic impact of $42.7 million. This includes events such as the USATF National Track & Field Junior Olympics, NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, and the North American Securities Administrators Association Annual Meeting.
This week we are celebrating The Power of Partnership in the travel and tourism industry. Here is a great partnership opportunity: Consider holding your company’s next meeting or your association’s next convention in Wichita. You’ll discover that Go Wichita is a willing partner ready to assist with all aspects of your planning process.
Leisure travel accounts for more than three-quarters of all trips taken in the United States. Visitors come to Wichita to attend events such as Ribfest, Riverfest and the American Indian Festival. They attend the NBC World Series and the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open.
Whether the reason for coming to Wichita is business or pleasure, these travelers have something in common. They use our hotels, restaurants and other businesses to conduct their meetings while at the same time adding income to our local economy. The economic ripple creates jobs for accountants, advertising agencies, Web designers, landscapers and many more. The power of these partnerships will help the continued growth of the south-central Kansas economy.