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Kansas City Breaks Tourism Records

Jessica Hollenbach

According to new research released, the Kansas City region welcomed 25.2 million visitors in 2016, a new record for the destination. The number of visitors grew 2.1 percent from the previous year, meaning that Kansas City welcomed about 500,000 more visitors than in 2015. This growth in travel is just one of the new findings from research commissioned by Visit KC, the city’s hospitality and tourism organization.

Conducted every two years by the firms Tourism Economics and Longwoods International, the studies examine the economic impact of tourism and the profile of travelers to the Kansas City region, as defined by the counties of Jackson, Clay, Platte, Johnson and Wyandotte.

The research supports the conclusion that tourism remains a vital and growing component of the Kansas City economy. Among the other findings in the economic impact study:

  • Visitor spending grew to a record $3.4 billion in 2016, growing 8.9 percent since 2014. This number has now grown for seven straight years.  
  • Tourism generated a record $5.5 billion in economic impact for the region, including indirect and induced spending.
  • Visitors to Kansas City spent $926 million at hotels and motels in the region in 2016 – $21 million more than in 2015.   
  • Tourism-generated employment reached a new high of 47,936 jobs, with 1 in 19.6 area workers sustained directly or indirectly by the industry, continuing a multi-year growth trend.
  • In 2016, tourism to the region generated $380 million in state and local taxes, which in turn saved each area household $550 in taxes.

“Kansas City has accelerated the improvement of new products that enhance the resident and visitor experience, making the destination more vibrant than ever,” said Ronnie Burt, Visit KC’s president and CEO. “Our new streetcar has already exceeded ridership expectations, and our walkable convention district puts groups right in the heart of the city. Add in our lively arts and culture scene and it’s clear that the future of Kansas City’s tourism industry is bright, and we’re excited to continue building upon this wonderful momentum.”

For other findings from the study, go to VisitKC.com/research.

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