The Missouri Development Finance Board is debating about whether to come up with ways to help some local Convention and Visitors Bureaus taking a financial hit by the coronavirus. Executive Director Bob Miserez says the St. Louis and Kansas City bureaus have contacted the board about their struggles.

“Most of them are dependent upon hotel/motel sales tax. Hotel/motels have not had any people staying there to pay sales tax. So those budgeted revenues are pretty much gone. Hopefully, they’re starting to come back but it may be a while,” he says.

Due to coronavirus fears and restrictions, fewer visitors have been coming from out of state to visit Missouri’s many tourist attractions. The state has been missing out on all those visitors that would normally drive through or come through its airports, spend money to hitch a ride to various places, crash at a hotel, shop, eat, and party.

Several major college and high school sporting events were called off or limited the number of fans allowed earlier this spring – slapping Missouri cities set to host the games with a serious financial burden. The state of Missouri’s professional sports has also hurt communities. The plug was pulled on the St. Louis Blues hockey season. The St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals teams are still sitting on the sidelines.

Miserez says the board is in early discussions and is working to get financial information from some of the tourism bureaus.

“We need to review all those – what their actual sources of revenue are – and see if we can come up with something that will then help tide them through this situation,” he says.

Miserez says the bureaus are very important to state tourism marketing. They share the cost of tourism promotion with the state.

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