Tourism revenue for 2015 is up in Sedalia and Pettis County at more than half a million dollars and is in sync with the rise seen in Missouri this past year.
In a news release, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said last year there was a record 40.4 million visitors to the state, who spent $12.4 billion. Since 2009, the rise in tourism for Missouri has resulted in an economic impact of a 30 percent increase.
Sedalia Convention & Visitor’s Bureau Executive Director Carolyn Crooker said Pettis County’s tourism revenue increases can be seen in the 17 Standard Industry Classification (SIC) Codes.
Pettis County’s SIC Codes shows tourism revenue for 2015 at $53,132,726.60, up from $52,556,942.11 in 2014. The SIC codes take in such items as restaurants, motels, establishments that serve only alcohol, trailer parks and camp sites, public golf courses, commercial sports and producers, orchestras and entertainers.
“How every business reports their taxes is classified in one of these (codes),” Crooker said. “Pettis County doesn’t have every (code) that goes into this, but they fall in here somehow.
“These are tourism related places, except for the Missouri State Fair,” she added. “It is not included in these (codes) because it’s a special entity.”
Crooker noted that the half million dollar increase in the SIC codes is geared toward what and where visitors spend in the area.
“The Pettis County Lodging Tax is also up,” she said. “However I don’t have all of the December (figures) in yet.”
The lodging tax collected for Pettis County from January through November 2015 was $335,000 compared to $326,000 in 2014.
“Even comparing the 11 months, January through November, we’re still up, compared to the full year of last year, by the tune of $9,000,” she added. “Yes, tourism is up.”
Crooker attributed the rise in county tourism revenue to the Red Power Roundup tractor event hosted at the Missouri State Fairgrounds last June.
“It was huge,” she said. “We had 20,000 visitors that came in over that period of time, that three or four days.”
Crooker said the Midwest Stud Ram Sale that is hosted at the Fairgrounds annually is a big draw for visitors also, but new events often draw fresh crowds.
“These new things are a boost for us,” she noted. “We also had the Arabian horse show, which was the Mo-Kan Border Bonanza. They came again and they had not been here for 10 or 12 years. They booked for last year and they liked it so well they are coming again this year.
“They’ve got a multi-year contract now,” Crooker added. “So that’s a good thing, we’ve picked up another one who wants to come back annually.”
She said they are still “very happy” about the annual events that are available every year in the area.
A new event being hosted this year is Tough Mudder Missouri slated for Oct. 8 and 9.
“The buzz with the Tough Mudder is incredible,” Crooker said. “It’s all over Facebook. It is a 10-mile endurance run.”
The run is an international event that began in 2010. Since beginning, Tough Mudder has contributed $8 million to the Wounder Warrior Project and is expected to draw 10,000 participants to Sedalia this year.
“They will be coming from everywhere,” Crooker said. “They sign up online.”
For large events, Crooker looks for economic impact studies used in other cities with populations compared to Sedalia. A 2014 report, from Pennsylvania, stated the Tough Mudder event showed an economic impact for a community the size of Sedalia to be $4,363,492. The taxes generated from the event was $101,892.
“We will also get this type of impact study,” she added. “They anticipate it to be a good one.”
If the event goes well, for both the Sedalia and Tough Mudder organizers, the group plans to come back through 2019.
“If it gives us that economic impact this year, then we will be able to add that in for the next few years,” she noted. “So, tourism is important.”
Crooker said the way she was able to obtain the group was by being part of the Missouri Tourism’s Show-Me Missouri Sports Team that went to Pennsylvania.
“Eight to 10 people or communities are on this team,” she said. “We go in as a delegation and we sell ourselves, our own community. However if it’s not a fit for our community, then we work it as somewhere in Missouri, because we’re are trying to get out-of-state people to come into Missouri. That’s our goal.”
In April, Crooker will travel to Rapid City, Michigan, and in August she will go to Grapevine, Texas, to scope out future tourism venues for the Sedalia area.
Crooker said she believes 2016 will be a great year for tourism locally, and she is pleased with how the city, county and the community come to gather to promote tourism in the Sedalia area.
“I could not ask for better people to work with than the city,” Crooker added. “They do whatever they can, they see the importance of tourism. Mayor Galliher, he gets it. Anytime there’s an event like this, it takes the whole city and community to get it done.”
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.