TROY — The Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau has released numbers testifying to why tourism is so important to the county — bringing in more than $170 million in direct sales in 2017.
The statistics are a result of an integrated, consumer-based research study spearheaded by Tourism Ohio and conducted by Tourism Economics and Longwoods International. The Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau is one of 50 county/city convention and visitor bureaus, cities and economic development organizations that took part in this study.
“Direct visitor spending and employment figures are essential factors to consider when evaluating the importance of tourism to our economy,” said Diana Thompson, executive director of the MCVCB.
Direct visitor spending is the financial input made by consumers into the local economy for tourism-related (only) purchases such as lodging, food, gas, shopping, etc.
“By contributing to our quality of life, leisure destinations play an important role in shaping our business climate,” Thompson said in a release.
According to the report, Miami County’s direct sales impact was $172.6 million in 2017. Thompson said these numbers continue to climb as the direct sales impact numbers for the year 2015 were $165.8 million, and $169.9 million for 2016.
“That’s a 1.6 percent increase from 2016. Not big, but still an increase and we will always be pleased with an increase,” she said.
The report also indicates that tourism directly supported 2,413 tourism-related jobs — or 6.7 percent of the private employment in the county. The report also shows that visitor activity sustained a total of 493,625 jobs across the state, both directly and indirectly.
Thompson said such jobs include anyone working in a restaurant of any kind, hotel workers, shop owners and employees, gas station attendants, and area attraction employees.
The report also states that one in 11 jobs in the state is sustained by tourism activity — or 8.9 percent of private non-farm employment in Ohio.
The methodology used to prepare this report includes:
• A survey of travelers conducted by Longwoods International
• STR (Smith Travel Report) data on hotel metrics including room demand, revenues, and occupancy rates
• Statistics Canada data on spending in Ohio
• Sales tax data on lodging, retail, recreation sectors available from the Ohio Department of Taxation
• Local lodging tax data collected directly from the counties.
Overall in Ohio, according to the report, visitor spending grew 3.5 percent in 2017 to reach $35.2 billion, with spending up by $5.2 billion since 2013. The report also found that visitor spending growth was led by spending on recreational activities, with strong growth in food and beverages as lower gas prices, growing wages and strong consumer confidence supported travel growth.
Tourism dollars prove to save the average taxpayer every year, according to the report. Including indirect and induced impacts, tourism in Ohio generated $3.35 billion in state and local taxes and $3.3 billion in federal taxes in 2017. In the absence of the state and local taxes generated by tourism, the study reveals that each Ohio household would need to pay an additional $725 to maintain the current level of government services.
Thompson said she believes the 2018 direct sales numbers in Miami County will show an even bigger increase.
“I think our next report will show perhaps a slightly bigger increase, perhaps around 2.5 to 3 percent,” she said, based on how this year is going.
For Miami County travel information, contact the MCVCB at (937) 339-1044 or visit www.HomeGrownGreat.com.