How KC’s $5.1B tourism industry is shattering records & building the economy

Image courtesy of VisitKC.

Image courtesy of VisitKC.

New tourism research reports commissioned by VisitKC are confirming what locals already know: Kansas City is on fire. According to new research, a record 24 million visitors from across the country flocked to Kansas City in 2014, a 5 percent jump from 2012 when the previous record was set. And by eating our barbecue and shopping at the Country Club Plaza, those visitors generated a whopping $5.1 billion in economic impact – a 12 percent climb since 2012.

The data is part of an economic impact/traveler profile study conducted by Tourism Economics and Longwoods International. VisitKC commissions the studies every two years and looks at who exactly is coming to the area, what they’re doing, and how much money they’re spending.

Take a look at some of the other findings:

Visitor spending grew to a record $3.1 billion in 2014, growing 12 percent in two years.

Tourism generated a record $5.1 billion in economic impact for the region, including indirect and induced.

Visitors to Kansas City spend $845 million at hotels and motels in the region in 2014 — $73 million more than 2013 accommodation expenditures.

Tourism-generated employment reached a new high of 46.621 jobs, continuing a multi-year growth trend. One in 19 jobs in the region (5.2 percent) is sustained by tourism either directly or indirectly.

In 2014, tourism to the region generated $153 million in state taxes and $202 million in local taxes.

Taxes paid by visitors saved the average Kansas City household $525 in taxes in 2014.

“Tourism is a crucial component necessary to ignite our city,” VisitKC President and CEO Ronnie Burt said. “The spark has been lit and the nation is taking notice. According to these new findings, visitors are coming from as far as California and New York to experience our cultural activities, sporting events and culinary scene.”

Here’s a look at Kansas City’s average traveler:

The average visitor is a 42-year-old male, traveling with a party size of 2.6 people.

Daily spending per visitor is $63.33 and the average length of stay is 2.4 nights.

About 38 percent of travelers stay in a hotel, at 90 percent travel by car.

Kansas City’s largest origin markets by state are Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Iowa, California and Illinois.

Another interesting statistic: When planning an overnight trip, 58 percent of visitors used the Internet. It’s a trend that will only continue to grow, and one that explains why VisitKC has diversified its efforts to reach potential visitors on a number of online platforms.

“Kansas City has accelerated the improvement of new products that enhance the resident and visitor experience—from our walkable convention district to the arts and culture scene to the new streetcar that comes online next year,” Burt said. “We are thrilled that visitors are taking notice, to the tune of 24 million travelers. We are excited about the future and will continue to build on this wonderful momentum.”

For more findings from the study, click here.