Missouri tourism on the rise with a record 40.4 million visitors in FY15, Gov. Nixon announces

January 29, 2016
Jefferson City, MO

Missouri welcomed a record 40.4 million visitors in Fiscal Year 2015, Gov. Nixon announced today on a conference call with local tourism industry leaders. During that time, visitors spent more than $12.4 billion and supported more than 297,000 jobs. As a result, the economic impact of tourism has increased by nearly 30 percent since the Governor took office in 2009.

“From big cities to small towns, there’s something for everyone in Missouri,” Gov. Nixon said. “I appreciate the work of our Division of Tourism, and their local partners throughout the state, who continue to make Missouri a destination for visitors from around the world.”

Gov. Nixon’s balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2017 includes an additional $3 million to enhance Missouri’s tourism marketing efforts.

“Tourism plays a vital role in Missouri’s economy, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs and strengthening our communities,” said Dan Lennon, Missouri Division of Tourism Director. “We truly appreciate the leadership of Gov. Nixon and the bipartisan support of both the Missouri Legislature and the Missouri Tourism Commission.”

In addition to implementing a strong integrated media campaign in 24 regional markets, the MDT increased its marketing and sales reach through its participation in Travel South USA, the largest and oldest regional tourism-marketing alliance in the country. Research indicates that Illinois and Kansas were found to be Missouri’s top two tourist-generating states, with 54 percent of travel to Missouri occurring between March and August.

As a way to reach international travelers, Missouri continued to participate in Brand USA, a public-private partnership established at the federal level by passage of the Travel Promotion Act in 2010. In calendar year 2014, an estimated 400,000 foreign travelers visited the Missouri, an increase of 7.5 percent from the previous year. Although they make up a small percentage of overall visitors, international travelers to Missouri have a tendency to stay longer and spend more ($774 per trip) than domestic travelers ($280 per trip).

Missouri’s year-round variety of attractions and destinations continue to inspire visitors to explore the Show-Me State. Outstanding outdoor assets are a significant part of the Missouri’s tourism appeal. From kayaking and hiking to golf and bicycling, Missouri’s nationally recognized state parks system, abundant historic sites, and more than 1,000 miles of trails make for the perfect destination for family-friendly outdoor adventures.