The Missouri Division of Tourism has released its annual report, which touts the importance of the tourist trade to the state’s economy. Tourism Director Blaine Luetkemeyer says funding received by the Division in Fiscal Year 2007 paid huge dividends – with state sales tax revenue increased 5.7 percent to $404.7 millon, and the number of people employed in the industry up 1.6 percent to a record 293,584.
Luetkemeyer says a big part of the success this past year was the Tour of Missouri bicycle race, which brought attention to Missouri from many Europeans who might not have heard of this state prior to the event. He points out that for every dollar the state of Missouri invests in marketing tourism, $49.47 is returned in visitor expenditures. Missouri is attempting to increase its tourism reach by targeting advertising at the Canadian and United Kingdom markets, as well as going after baby boomers and young families here at home. The Division’s new slogan is, "Close to home. Far from Ordinary."
Luetkemeyer says many Americans and foreigners want to come to the Midwest and Missouri must present itself as the home of Mark Twain, Jesse James, Route 66, and other pieces of Americana.