Tourism revenue saves taxpayers money

SIDNEY — Earlier this year, the Sidney Visitors Bureau commissioned a consumer-based research study spearheaded by Tourism Ohio and conducted by Tourism Economics and Longwoods International. The purpose for the study was to quantify the impact of tourism-related expenditures in Sidney and Shelby County.

The Sidney Visitors Bureau was one of 50 Ohio-based convention and visitor bureaus, cities and economic development organizations that took part in this study.

According to Jeff Raible, with the Sidney Visitors Bureau, the report indicates that in 2017, total tourism-related economic activity in Shelby County exceeded $94 million. Of that, $60.7 million was attributed to direct visitor spending that includes tourism-only related purchases such as lodging, food, gas, shopping, etc.

Indirect visitor spending in 2017 accounted for $33.7 million in Shelby County and is associated with the purchase of goods and services by local organizations that benefit from direct tourism spending. Indirect visitor spending market sectors include entities such as food wholesalers, utility companies, service organizations and the like.

According to the report, Shelby County tourism direct spending volumes increased 1 percent over those in 2016.

“Although 1 percent represents only a small increase, it is an increase all the same and we are encouraged by any and all signs of growth,” Raible said.

The report also indicates that in Shelby County, local tourism activity directly supported 1,252 tourism-related jobs and accounted for $25.3 million in wages. The benefits of tourism spending are diverse and span various industries that include recreation, retail, lodging, food and beverage, and transportation.

In terms of tax revenue, the study suggests a total impact of $11.7 million resulting from tourism-related expenditures that includes nearly $2.4 million collected in local tax income.

The methodology used to prepare this report includes a survey of travelers conducted by Longwoods International; Smith Travel Report data on hotel metrics including room demand, revenues, and occupancy rates; Statistics Canada data on spending in Ohio; sales tax data on lodging, retail, recreation sectors available from the Ohio Department of Taxation; and local lodging tax data collected directly from the counties.

Statewide in Ohio, the report indicates that visitor spending grew 3.5 percent in 2017 to reach $35.2 billion, up $5.2 billion since 2013. The report also found that visitor spending growth was led by spending on recreational activities, with strong growth in food and beverage sales as lower gas prices, growing wages and strong consumer confidence supported travel growth.

Further, visitor activity sustained more than 493,000 Ohio jobs in 2017, both directly and indirectly.

Tourism dollars have been proven to save the average Ohio taxpayer every year, according to the report. Including indirect and induced impacts, tourism in Ohio generated $3.35 billion in state and local taxes and $3.3 billion in federal taxes in 2017.

In the absence of the state and local taxes generated by tourism, the study reveals that each Ohio household would need to pay an additional $725 to maintain the current level of government services.