The natural disasters that have swept the state haven’t put a dent in Missouri’s tourism. Jessica Machetta has talked to the State Director of Tourism.
We’ve had tornadoes, an earthquake, flooding that still continues, and even a historic swarm of cicadas. Missouri Tourism Director Katie Steele Danner says despite it all — tourism numbers are up. She says inquiry demand is up 12 percent from last year, showing a spike in interest, and hotel occupancy is also climbing, now5 percent higher than this time last year.
She says the disasters might have actually boosted tourism, and that people are feeling pent up and want to get out and travel. She says gas prices are also leveling off, which encourages people to hit the road.
She says there are several events happening this summer that should give tourism the shot in the arm it needs this year. She points out sports events at Busch and Kaufmann stadiums, a good season for the Current River, Civil War re-enactments commemorating 150 years and more.
She says she thinks travelers understand that the entire state hasn’t been affected by weather, and that in addition to an abundance of campgrounds and natural beauty, there are hundreds of festivals and historic sites to offer something for everyone.
Danner says Economic Development — like all state agencies — is working on a tight budget this year, but that doing more with less and utilitizing social media to reach larger audiences appears to be paying off.