Tourism recovering according to new figures released this week
LUDLOW — The Department of Marketing and Tourism reported Wednesday that Vermont tourism is on the rebound.
Commissioner Megan Smith presented new information on state tourism at the Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting in Ludlow. According to new data — released by Chumra Economics and the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing — the tourism market recovered much better than other sectors of the economy and the national tourism industry.
Smith said visitor spending in Vermont increased nearly 20 percent since 2009. In 2009, visitors spent an estimated $1.4 billion in the state. In 2011, the figure jumped to $1.7 billion.
Much of the money spent in 2011 was in four categories, including prepared meals and beverages ($393.8 million), lodging ($366.1 million), gasoline ($290.5 million) and shopping ($214.3 million).
The study also showed that total trips increased 1.8 percent from 2009 to 2011 (13.7 million to 13.95 million), tax revenue generated increased 16.7 percent ($199.6 million to $232.9 million) and hospitality/recreation employment increased 13 percent (33,530 to 37,910 employees).
“Tourism has really bounced back,” Smith said. “A lot of our visitors were from Canada and western Massachusetts. They were doing one day trips and Vermont is a ‘drive market.’ This is good news.”
The study also revealed total room and meal receipts are recovering from a sluggish economy. From 2009 to 2011, total room receipts (taxable and nontaxable) increased 13.8 percent in Windsor County from $47.4 million to $53.9 million and total meal receipts increased 6 percent from $63.7 million to $67.6 million.
Two counties accounted for nearly half the growth in Vermont room receipts from 2009 to 2011. According to the study, Chittenden comprised 27.5 percent and Lamoille County 21.8 percent. The only other county with more than a 10 percent share of the growth was Windsor, which accounted for 11.8 percent of the increase in room receipts.
“Windsor County is doing good,” Smith said.
Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Marji Graf agreed with Smith’s presentation that the majority of visitors come from the Boston and New York City areas, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Department of Tourism and Marketing and the Okemo Chamber will continue their efforts to attract more visitors and the recent survey is a positive sign for the area, Graf said.
“It’s nice to know Vermont Tourism is bouncing back and that Windsor County has grown their market share,” she said.
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