The most recent economic impact study on visitor spending in the area shows 5% growth in the local tourism industry.
MARTINSVILLE – Visit Morgan County once again has invested in a county-specific economic impact study of visitor spending. This annual research initiative is a statewide study through the Indiana Office of Tourism Development that county tourism offices throughout the state have the opportunity to buy into and receive a report for their county. The most recent report is based on 2015 data and is available in the Industry partners section of the Visit Morgan County website.
According to this recently received study, the impact of tourism in Morgan County is substantial, and growing! Visitors (defined by this study as those traveling more than 50 miles from home to the Morgan County area) spent a total of $23 million in 2015, supporting 426 jobs and more than $9 million in local wages and proprietor income. This spending also generated significant tax revenues – more than $2 million in federal taxes and $3 million in state and local taxes.
Of that spending, food and beverage purchases account for the largest share at 42% of all visitor spending, which is much higher than the state average of 27%. Next is retail spending at 29%, transportation at 13%, lodging at 9% and recreation and entertainment at 7%. Interestingly, the segment with the largest growth over the previous year is recreation and entertainment with a 17% growth rate.
“We all know recreation is a popular reason for visitors to be in the area, with Morgan-Monroe State Forest and various county and city parks, but these attractions are often free and so would not affect the numbers much in this particular study,” says Visit Morgan County director, Tosha Daugherty. “What these numbers do tell us is more people visiting the area are paying for recreational and entertainment opportunities, such as horseback riding at Grandpa Jeff’s in Morgantown or tickets to a play at The Depot Theatre in Martinsville.”
Over all, visitor spending in Morgan County was up 5.4% over 2014 spending, a healthy and fairly steady growth rate. Tourism is currently the 11th largest industry in Morgan County (excluding government). Revenues collected locally from tourism is sufficient to support 314 Indiana public school students. If tourism in Morgan County did not exist, each of the more than 28,000 households in the county would have to pay an additional $107 per year in taxes to maintain current tax revenues. What’s more, of every dollar spent by visitors in Morgan County, 71 cents remains here in the area economy. That’s money that did not previously exist in our local economy. In this way, tourism helps to increase the overall economy of Morgan County.
Visit Morgan County promotes all of Morgan County as a travel destination in order to grow the economic impact of the tourism industry and support local business.