Another impromptu debate on the value of funding the city’s tourism department took place last Thursday during tourism director Sandra Cabot’s report at the Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen meeting.
At a March 14 budget work session, outgoing Ward 4 Alderman Randy Ruzicka had challenged the need and propriety of the city funding the Welcome Center and tourism marketing efforts. He debated outgoing Ward 1 Alderman John Mooney on the topic at that meeting.
Last Thursday, Cabot came armed with numbers about the economic impact of tourirsm.
First, she reported that Tim Good, interim superintendent of the Sainte Genevieve National Historical Park, had visited Ste. Genevieve on March 18 along with Patricia Trapp, acting regional director for the National Park Service (NPS).
Cabot said Good again said the NPS “does not provide tourism marketing or advertising services for a destination or even of their site, other than a listing of their site on the National Park Service website and the sign on Interstate 55 — the arrowhead branding you are familiar with.”
She also said that NPS “will provide guest information … and answer general questions, but they would refer to our Welcome Center for specific local attractions, step-on guides, tour services, maps and other guest services.”
That would include referrals to restaurants, bed and breakfasts and other businesses, Cabot said.
“I just wanted to clarify that because I know this has been on some people’s minds, how this would impact us.” Cabot said.
She said she and Sara Menard, Tourism Advisory Council chair, recenty attended a “road show” program in St. Louis by Missouri Division of Tourism’s new director.
She said tourism in Missouri generates about 42 million visitors a year, about 40 percent of which are from Missouri.
“The total economic impact of the tourism industry in the state of Missouri is $17.2 billion,” Cabot said. “Here in Ste Genevieve, tourism as an industry, across our county … the industry of tourism accounts for approximately 500 jobs in this county.”
This was an increase of 10 percent over the past 10 years.
See complete story in the April 3 edition of the Herald.