Southeast Tourism Society
ATLANTA, Ga. (Oct. 6, 2010)-Promoters of tourism often face skeptical audiences when they cite tourism as a tool of economic development, but the Southeast Tourism Society and a tourism-oriented economist have devised a program to explain tourism's importance on a county-by-county basis.
"Communities are so accustomed equating economic development with jobs produced by manufacturing plants that other important economic engines are overlooked. Tourism is a great example of an industry that doesn't get the credit it is due for the jobs created and taxes generated," said Bill Hardman, president and CEO of the 12-state Southeast Tourism Society (STS).
STS developed the "STS Economic Significance of Tourism Tool" with Steve Morse, economist and director of the Tourism Institute at the University of Tennessee.
"The tool is a very detailed and very specific report that gives tourism advocates the ammunition they need to get support. Most counties list tourism development in their mission statements, but lack hard numbers to explain the significance tourism has on local economies in terms of jobs, taxes and paychecks," Morse said.
A Significance of Tourism report highlights the number of jobs tourism creates in a county, how much payroll it generates and how much tax relief it provides to residents, among other data. Other components include daily and yearly tourism spending totals and breakdowns according to affected businesses, such as restaurants, lodging, entertainment, transportation and retail.
Some data examples from Dickson County, Tenn.:
• Tourists spend $45.38 million a year.
• Tourism spending generates 487 jobs that wouldn't exist otherwise.
• Tourism generates $8.77 million in worker income a year ($24,015 in payroll every day).
• On an average day, tourists spending results in $3,170 inn local taxes and $7,568 in state taxes ($3.92 million a year).
• As a result of tourist spending and taxes generated by tourists, each Dickson County household pays $245 less in state and local taxes.
"Tourism's impact is powerful, but it is spread out so much that it's often difficult to see it all. When a tourism advocate such as a convention and visitors bureau needs community or governmental support for a tourism initiative, this tool paints a very clear picture," Morse said.
Details of the STS Economic Significance of Tourism Tool are at southeasttourism.org or by calling the STS office at 404-364-9847.
About Southeast Tourism Society (STS)
Founded in 1983, the Southeast Tourism Society (southeasttourism.org) is dedicated to promoting and developing tourism to and within its 12 member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Its headquarters are in Atlanta. The membership includes state travel offices, attractions, hotels, motels, resorts, convention and visitors bureaus, airlines, car rental agencies, newspapers, magazines and other travel-related organizations.