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How destination marketing is an unexpected catalyst for employment, economic development and quality of life

Destination promotion supports development of transportation infrastructure, providing greater accessibility and supply logistics that are important in attracting investment to other sectors.

WASHINGTON – Destinations that place a high priority on marketing their brands and amenities realize significantly greater employment and economic growth, well beyond the visitor economy, reports new research released by the Destination & Travel Foundation and conducted by Oxford Economics.  

“Tourism has always been a top driver of jobs and taxes,” said Destination Marketing Association International President and CEO Michael Gehrisch. “And, as an industry, we are setting our sights on understanding how and why destinations with devoted visitor economies – who treat tourism as a locally-produced export – realize even greater economic and social benefits, job growth, investments, workforce development and quality of life.”

Through a statistical analysis of more than 200 cities over more than 20 years, case studies, interviews and a literature review, the key findings reveal the broad economic benefits reaped by US destinations who spent an estimated $2 billion on promotion and marketing to encourage leisure and convention travel.

The visitor economy was found to drive broader economic growth through four primary channels:

  • Destination promotion supports development of transportation infrastructure, providing greater accessibility and supply logistics that are important in attracting investment to other sectors.
  • Destination promotion builds awareness, familiarity, and relationships in commercial networks that are critical in attracting investment. Similarly, destination promotion raises the destination profile among potential new residents, supporting skilled workforce growth that is critical to economic development.
  • By securing meetings, conventions and trade shows for local facilities, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) create valuable exposure among business decision makers and opportunities to deepen connections with attendees.
  • Destination promotion supports amenities and a quality of life that are integral to attracting investment in other sectors in the form of human capital, corporate relocations and expansion.

“The data substantiates the link between destination marketing and economic growth and why today’s visitor economy warrants investment,” says Destination & Travel Foundation Chair and Executive Vice President of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau Cleo Battle.

Key Jobs Data from Destination Promotion: An Engine of Economic Development:

  • A 10 percent increase in a destination’s visitor-related employment (relative to the US average) causes a 1.5 percent rise in broader employment through catalytic channels.
  • Since 1998, hospitality and tourism employment has expanded nearly 10 percent, while aggregate employment in all other traded clusters shrank 1 percent.

The research also demonstrates that across the US, economic trends have supported above average growth in the visitor economy. As income levels rise, consumers are dedicating a greater share of spending to travel and tourism.

“Looking ahead, destinations are poised to capitalize on future growth even more, as consumer spending on travel continues to outpace other sectors,” said Gehrisch.

Tatiana Rokou

Tatiana is the news coordinator for TravelDailyNews Media Network (traveldailynews.gr, traveldailynews.com and traveldailynews.asia). Her role includes monitoring the hundreds of news sources of TravelDailyNews Media Network and skimming the most important according to our strategy.

She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.

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