A biennial report released by the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing shows record growth in visitor spending and tourism industry employment.
The study titled "A Benchmark Study of the Economic Impact of Visitor Expenditures on the Vermont Economy - 2011" was released during the 30th annual Vermont Travel Industry Conference this week. According to Department of Tourism and Marketing Spokesperson Jen Butson, it found that since 2009 there has been record growth in visitor spending.
Stowe Area Association Executive Director Ed Stahl is chair of the Vermont Travel and Recreation Council. He notes that Vermont’s tourism industry is seeing growth despite challenges due to bad weather last year and the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene.
How strong the tourism economy is depends on where you are, according to Ed Stahl. In the Stowe area, he explains that there have been infrastructure improvements at ski resorts and new restaurants. Stahl says part of work is being done to anticipate tourism inclinations.
Although Vermont is renowned for winter skiing, most tourists actually visit in summer. The report found nearly 30 percent of “person trips” occurred then, compared to 28 percent in winter. However, visitor spending in winter was higher. The report also broke down where travelers came from; 54 percent are from the U.S. outside of Vermont, 27 percent are Vermonters and 18 percent are from Canada. Jen Butson notes the Department of Tourism and Marketing wants to focus more on international tourists.
Visitors spent more than 1.7 billion dollars in 2011 in Vermont, generating nearly 275 million dollars in tax revenues and supporting nearly 38-thousand tourism-related jobs.