On February 19, 2015

Vermont visitor spending increases

New benchmark study outlines tourism trends and economic impact

Visitors to Vermont are spending more than ever, according to a report released Feb. 11 by the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.

The 2013 Benchmark Study of the economic impact of tourism says there were an estimated 12.8 million visitor trips to Vermont in 2013. That number is steady from 2011, yet overall tourism revenue was $2.49 billion, up from $2.30 billion two years before. Visitor spending contributed $318 million in tax and fee revenues to the State of Vermont in 2013.

“We’re seeing a steady recovery to pre-recession levels of visitor overnights,” said Megan Smith, commissioner for the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing. “The good news is, while they’re here, visitors are spending more on lodging, food, gifts, and entertainment.”

According to the report, state parks and campground visits were the highest they’ve been since 2002. Canadians represent almost 10 percent of Vermont’s overnight visitors, and there is an opportunity to attract more of the growing overseas market. The report also looks at the important role of vacation homes: Vermont’s 45,000 second-home owners spend almost $500 million in food and services, and an additional $450 million to manage and maintain their vacation homes per year.

“This is encouraging news for Vermont’s economy and the tens of thousands of Vermonters whose jobs are tied to the tourism industry,” said Governor Peter Shumlin. “With low gas prices and a recovering economy throughout the country, we have an opportunity to attract more visitors to our beautiful state. That’s why I proposed increasing investments in tourism and marketing. If we make those investments, we will build on the progress we’ve made and make a difference for Vermont’s small businesses and overall economy.”

In the last two years, the Department of Tourism and Marketing has launched winter and summer campaigns targeted at the 85 million consumers who live within driving distance of Vermont. “We’re pleased with the response to our awareness campaigns, but we continue to be challenged by neighboring states who are aggressively going after the same consumer,” said Commissioner Smith. “We need to remain competitive and make sure people know why Vermont is a special place to visit.”

Visitor spending supports an estimated 30,000 jobs for Vermonters, which represents approximately eight percent of Vermont’s workforce. Tourism represents almost eight percent of Vermont’s gross domestic product. As with other economic sectors, the multiplier effect reaches into other economic activities and increases the overall role of tourism in the state economy.

A fact sheet and the full study can be found at www.VermontPartners.com.

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