As you [probably don’t] know, May 3-11 is National Travel and Tourism Week. The celebration first came to light by a Congressional joint resolution passed in 1983, and the first official National Travel and Tourism Week was celebrated in 1984.
Traveling is incredible. There’s nothing better than traveling to another city, another state, or even another country, and immersing yourself in all the place you’re visiting has to offer. Similarly, tourists are incredible to the local economies that they directly (and indirectly) impact while they’re traveling. One reason tourism is important is because it directly and indirectly creates jobs. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, in 2011 tourism was responsible for creating 98 million jobs worldwide and by 2022, it is expected to directly generate 120 million jobs. In the US alone, U.S. Travel reports that 14.9 million jobs are created by tourism and $209.5 billion in payroll for those employed directly in U.S. travel.
Another impact, obviously, is the money tourists bring to where they are visiting. What kind of money are we talking about?
Per U.S. Travel:
- Generated $2.1 trillion in economic output, with $887.9 billion spent directly by domestic and international travelers that spurred an additional $1.2 trillion in other industries.
- Directly generated $134 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments.
- Each U.S. household would pay $1,093 more in taxes without the tax revenue generated by the travel and tourism industry.
- Direct spending by resident and international travelers in the U.S. averaged $2.4 billion a day, $101.4 million an hour, $1.7 million a minute and $28,154 a second.
So, why is Mutineer interested in this? Because with the boom in craft beverage over the last several years, beverage tourism has exploded and has played a vital component to the local economies of cities, regions, states, and countries around the world. Whether we’re talking about Scotch in Scotland, Bourbon in Kentucky, or craft beer and cider in Sonoma County, CA, the impact is huge. Let’s take a look at some of those places where beverage tourism has exploded.
Sonoma County, CA
While they’re famous for their wine, they’re also well-known for their craft beer, cider, distilleries, and more, but we’ll just take a look at craft beer. In 2013, a study by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board estimated that craft brewing had a $123 million economic impact on the county and directly and indirectly created nearly 680 jobs. One event they tracked was Russian River Brewing Co.’s release of their popular triple IPA Pliny the Younger. The event drew 12,500 attendees Santa Rosa, of which 65% of attendees were tourists and of which 44% of tourists attendees stayed at a local hotel or lodging. Their aggregate expenditure within Sonoma County, also known as their direct impact, totaled $1,440,151. The total tourism related impact of Pliny the Younger was $2,357,609.
Kentucky Bourbon Trail
Bourbon! Everyone loves America’s Native Spirit, which makes sense considering there have been over 1.7 million visits to Kentucky distilleries over the last five years and more than 9,000 people completed the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour in 2010—a 300 percent increase from 2009. The Kentucky Distillers’ Association estimates that each set of 1,000 parties completing their Kentucky Bourbon Trail Passports is likely to spend about $585,000 in the region. Events, like The Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown, bring over 50,000 tourists to the area from around the world for Bourbon and Bourbon related events.
Napa Valley, CA
Napa is separated from Sonoma by a small mountain range but like Sonoma, tourism is crucial to their economy. In 2012 alone, the Napa Valley hosted 2.94 million tourists who generated $1.4 billion in direct tourism spending according to a study conducted by Visit Napa Valley. Of those 2.94 million tourists, 82% were interested in visiting tasting rooms and 52% were interesting in visiting wineries. According to the study, “Guests reported their “most-liked” aspects of the Napa Valley are its scenic beauty (37.3%), followed by wine (34.9%).”
“Since the Napa Valley is so well known for its world class wine and culinary scenes, we are not surprised to learn that these are the two elements guests enjoy most about our region,” said Clay Gregory, CEO of Visit Napa Valley. “And the fact that adults of all ages find the Napa Valley’s wine, food, arts and wellness activities worth their time and investment is very exciting to see.”
So, in conclusion? Travel, eat and drink your way around the world, and help the economy while you’re at it.