Increases in number of tourists, jobs supported, visitor spending and total economic impact continue to strengthen Missouri’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry

Missouri set new tourism records in 2016. Citing figures from the FY16 annual impact report by Tourism Economics, a division of Oxford Economics, Missouri welcomed 41.7 million visitors, a 3.2 percent increase from the previous record of 40.4 million in Fiscal Year 2015.

Overall, the tourism industry had a $16.5 billion economic impact on Missouri in 2016, up from $15.9 billion in the previous fiscal year.

“Visitors to our state strengthen local communities and support hundreds of thousands of jobs, resulting in a multi-billion industry here in Missouri,” said Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon. “From the great outdoors, to bustling metropolises, to unique getaways in between, there’s something for everyone in Missouri.”

Additionally, tourism-related spending in Missouri increased to $13.1 billion in 2016, up from $12.4 billion the previous fiscal year, according to the Missouri Department of Revenue. Direct tourism-related employment also increased to 307,937 jobs, up from 297,129 in 2015, according to the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

During Nixon’s administration, the Missouri Division of Tourism has awarded $25.6 million in matching grants to local destination marketing organizations. The efforts of those organizations are critical to Missouri’s success in the highly-competitive tourism industry.

The 2017 budget follows the Governor’s recommendation to include an additional $3 million to expand the Division of Tourism’s marketing efforts to bring more visitors to Missouri.

Earlier this year, it was announced that attendance at the Missouri State Fair increased in 2016 with 356,153 fairgoers visiting the Fair, an increase of 4,000 attendees from 2015 figures.

Missouri State Parks also saw record guests in 2016 with, at last count, more than 19.2 million guests visiting state parks and historic sites.