All Roads Lead to KC

Kansas City breaks tourism records, focuses on drawing meetings and events

The Huffington Post named Kansas City THE COOLEST CITY IN AMERICA.

Travel + Leisure ranked KC as the No. 1 affordable getaway five years in a row. Yelp rated the Nelson-Atkins Museum as the best in the country. The city’s top chefs keep winning notoriety and its makers and doers, like Baldwin Denim and Christopher Elbow Chocolates, keep creat- ing a nationwide buzz. And if there was an award for making visitors feel like locals, Kansas City would grab that title, too.

It’s no wonder the Kansas City region welcomed 25.2 million visitors in 2016, a new record for the destination. The number of visitors grew 2.1 percent from the previous year. This growth in travel is just one of the new findings from research commissioned by Visit KC, the city’s hospitality and tourism organization.

Conducted every two years by the firms of Tourism Economics and Longwoods Inter- national, the studies examine the economic impact of tourism and the profile of travelers to the Kansas City region, as defined by the counties of Jackson, Clay, Platte, Johnson and Wyandotte. The research supports the conclusion that meetings, conferences and events remain a vital and growing compo- nent of the Kansas City economy.

“Kansas City has accelerated the im- provement of new products that enhance the resident and visitor experience, making the destination more vibrant than ever,” said Ronnie Burt, Visit KC President & CEO. “Our new streetcar [which connects downtown hotels, venues and the conven- tion center] has already exceeded ridership expectations and our walkable convention district puts groups right in the heart of the city. Add in our lively arts and culture scene and it’s clear that the future of Kansas City’s tourism industry is bright, and we’re excited to continue building upon this wonderful momentum.”

Among the Other Findings in the Economic Impact Study:

• Visitor spending grew to a record $3.4 billion in 2016, growing 8.9 percent since 2014. This number has now grown for seven straight years.

• Tourism generated a record $5.5 billion in economic impact for the region, including indirect and induced spending.

• Visitors to Kansas City spent $926 million at hotels and motels in the region in 2016—$21 million more than in 2015.

Tourism-generated employment reached a new high of 47,936 jobs, with 1 in 19.6 area workers sustained directly or indirectly by the industry, continuing a multi-year growth trend.

In 2016, tourism to the region generated $380 million in state and local taxes, which in turn saved each area household $550 in taxes.

The new research also shows continued growth in tourism spending throughout the metro. Jackson County accounted for nearly half of visitor spending in the Kansas City region at 47 percent. Tourism dollars in Johnson County contributing another 23 percent and Wyandotte County accounted for at least 6 percent (holding steady from 2014).

In Addition to Gains on the Economic Front, The 2016 Visitor Profile Study also Revealed the Demographic Makeup of Kansas City’s Average Traveler:

• The average overnight visitor is trending younger, with 49 percent of total overnight travelers in the 25-44 demographic.
• Seventy-five percent of travelers stay in a hotel, motel or bed & breakfast.
• Seventy-five percent of visitors travel to the area using their own vehicles (16 percent reported using a rental car).
• Kansas City’s largest origin markets by state are California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

“Tourism is an economic engine for the state of Missouri,” said Burt. “Our visitation numbers and visitor spending keeps growing and the nation is taking notice. As we continue to add new attractions, restaurants and hotels and secure conventions, major concerts and sporting events, Kansas City gives visitors more reasons to come back again and again.”

My Favorite Travel Products

Hit the road in style—and comfort—with these accessories

No matter what type of trip you’re taking—a destination event or a conference like Emerge 2018—one of the most stressful parts of travel can be deciding what you need to take with you.

Don’t worry: we’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled a few must-have items for a variety of uses (most notably, comfort) that you may want to squeeze into a carry-on, weekender bag or the trunk of your car.

From a surprisingly stylish travel pillow (no kidding!) toahome-away-fromhomeforyournextbigadventure, these are trendy and timeless necessities for every good traveler to have on hand, at least once in awhile.


REMODEEZ: Wish you could wash your clothes while traveling—or at least Febreze your suitcase? No worries! The remodeez product line neutralizes odor naturally by using activated charcoal to absorb smells. It’s a great solution for shoes, garments, luggage and hotel rooms, too! []

HYDAWAY: You’ll love this reusable, collapsible water bottle that folds to just over an inch high. Carry it through airport security and then fill it with water wherever you go. []

CARBONKLEAN:Thiscoollenscleanerisdesigned specifically for lenses and screens of all types, including smartphones, tablets, eyeglasses, sunglasses and reading glasses. Plus, it’s the only lens cleaner used on the Space Station by NASA! []

ROGUE INDUSTRIES: Try one of these beautiful theft blockers the next time you travel. Rogue Industries offers stylish, identity theft-secure wallets, clutches and travel bags that use RFID blocking for protection while traveling. []

NAPIER OUTDOORS SUV TENT: Going to a Christian music festival? Taking a youth group on a camping adventure? Check out the Sportz SUV Tent with Screen Room. This tent has a universal vehicle sleeve that easily attaches to any SUV to provide complete access to your vehicle from inside the tent. All your gear stays within easy reach and the detachable screen room (with seven feet of head room!) offers additional storage for gear — and an area to enjoy your evening, bug-free. There’s even enough room to invite the whole group in for a sing-along. []

NAPANYWHERE TRAVEL PILLOW: Try this comfy travel companion if you want to arrive at your destination refreshed and without an ache in your neck. The NapAnywhere is a portable, head-support pillow developed by a physician for use by frequent travelers. []

BUGBANE TOWELETTES: Keep pests at bay with Bugbane Towelettes, especially if you’re heading to a destination where mosquito-borne illnesses are a concern. The BugBand Towelette is a handy way to apply DEET-free insect repellent for heavy-duty insect protection. The towelettes are lightweight and take up very little space. []