By Bill Moore
Last week I had the opportunity to distribute hundreds of our new Central Vermont Visitors’ Guides to guests who stopped by the Vermont Booth at the New York Times Travel Show at the Javitts Convention Center in New York City. “The Jake,” as it is known, is the site of the largest annual travel show in the country.
It was important for the Central Vermont Chamber to be there. One of the important areas of the work that the Chamber is engaged in is promoting regional tourism opportunities for Central Vermont. While it is difficult to identify the direct local impact of tourism spending here, we can look at the impact tourism spending has on the state and make some general assumptions.
Vermont’s 2017 Tourism Benchmark Study was released in December. The biennial publication illustrates the positive impact tourism has on the Vermont economy through spending, jobs and revenue to local and state governments.
In 2017, there were 13 million visitors to Vermont, and those visitors brought $2.8 billion into the state. This is the second largest amount of dollars imported into the state, second only to manufacturing. Nearly 32,000 jobs — 10 percent of the state’s workforce — are involved in tourism. Approximately $391 million in tax revenue in 2017 was attributed to tourism, resulting in a tax reduction of $1,450 for every Vermont household.
According to the report, tourism wages are $1.05 billion and comprise 6.1 percent of all state income.
We are now past the half-way mark of the winter of 2019. Why is that important? The report points out that Vermont is blessed with year-round visitors. Summer is the strongest time for visitors. It is obvious that we all benefit from a healthy tourism economy. Whether they are coming for business or recreation, it is important to ensure that our visitors have a great experience, leading to return visits and perhaps even relocation.
Bill Moore is president and CEO of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce.