This weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer. We'll talk about the real reason for the Memorial Day holiday in our next Viewpoint, but for now, let's talk about the economics of Summer tourism here in the Heartland. Tourism isn't just about what you are doing on vacation. It is a working industry. In some areas it is the biggest, or sometimes even the only industry. Tens of thousands of people depend on you and me traveling to...and enjoying their "neck of the woods".
Tourism spending generates sales in lodging, restaurants, recreation, gas stations, retail, and more. Tourism creates sales that support jobs and generate tax revenues to local governments. A lot of Heartland communities depend on tourism to put police cars on the roads and a lot of Heartland families count on your visiting to put food on the table.
Many of us are still planning summer vacations or short getaways right now. While some may get glossy eyed over those much heralded trips to the beach, or tourist destinations like Disney World, for a lot of folks that's just out of reach. If you have the desire to get out and about, you really ought to consider the many opportunities we have right here in our own backyard. Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas all offer some wonderful destinations to visit and opportunities for families to get out and explore without putting a huge dent in your pocketbook.
Vacationing close to home makes a lot of financial sense AND it keeps your dollars circulating right here in our region. Have a safe and happy start to your Summer this weekend.