National Travel and Tourism Week

May 8-16 is National Travel and Tourism Week in the USA. For more than 20 years this week in May has been set aside to recognize tourism. Given the strength of this industry and what it contributes to our economy, jobs and lifestyle, it’s worth celebrating.

Here are a few facts to illustrate why this industry is so important:

For Yakima County visitors

• Spend more than $345 million each year

• Generate more than $25 million in state and local taxes

• Create 3,419 direct jobs and an estimated 1,800 indirect jobs in support industries

Travel and tourism is one of the most significant and reliable industries in America.

• America benefits from $1.7 trillion in economic output generated by travelers. More than 10 million people depend on travel for their jobs.

• Spending by travelers generates $111 billion in tax revenue for local and federal governments. The average American household pays $950 less in taxes every year because of travel in the United States.

• In challenging economic times, promoting and increasing travel is a proven way to boost the economy. Travelers come to our city and spend money on hotels, restaurants, businesses and attractions, then they return home and we don’t pay for their education, medical care, etc.

• When overseas travelers visit the U.S., they stay longer and spend more than any other visitors, on average about 16 nights with spending in excess of $4,000 when they visit.

• Following several consecutive years of decline, U.S. Travel is projecting modest increases in both business and leisure travel this year, gains that are expected to create 90,000 new jobs for the economy.

• In the wake of a prolonged recession, it’s more important than ever to underscore that travel benefits communities. It puts Americans back to work quickly and helps fill up tax coffers.

The benefits of travel are proven and diverse, affecting the bottom lines of businesses and the well-being of individuals.

Benefits to businesses:

• According to a 2009 study by Oxford Economics, businesses see an average return on investment of $12.50 in profits and $3.80 in revenue for every dollar spent on corporate travel. How many other business investments yield a 12-to-1 ROI?

• The vast majority of business travelers surveyed said that meetings, conference and incentive travel has a high effect on employee morale and performance.

• In order to achieve the same effects as incentive travel, a company would have to increase an employee’s base compensation by 8.5 percent. That means that an employee making $100,000 a year would have to have his or her pay increased by $8,500 in order to have the same effect as, say, a $2,000 all-expense-paid incentive trip.

Benefits to personal health:

• Taking a vacation once a year can cut the risk of a heart attack in half.

• Even a vacation of only one or two days can reduce blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels.

Travel is the front door to experiencing America’s diversity and hospitality.

• The U.S. is getting in the game to market itself to international travelers. Thanks to new national travel promotion legislation signed by President Obama, the U.S. is on its way to welcoming millions of new travelers and creating thousands of new jobs.

• People who have visited the U.S. are 74 percent more likely to have a favorable opinion of the country.

• Visitors to Yakima Valley experience all the great things we have to offer, then they spread the word – nearly 9 in 10 travelers tell friends and relatives about their travel experiences here.

In celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week, the VCB will host our Annual Meeting and encore! Awards May 13th noon at the Yakima Convention Center. At the event encore! Awards will be presented for Best Restaurant, Winery of the Year, White Glove Award for a lodging establishment, Tourism Business of the Year and Tourism Person of the Year.  For tickets call 509-575-3010.

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