Hospitality has many benefits

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nearly every day, people come to our community. Some come to shop, some come to eat, others come to visit.

They all spend money, either at a shop, eating establishment or a gas station. Whether they are simply passing through or are coming back because of a great meal or superb shopping experience, their economic impact can not be denied.

Travellers spent a total of $6.4 billion in Iowa in 2008, the most current data available. Because of this spending, over 64,000 jobs have been created, generating $1.1 billion in payroll income.

The federal government received $375.9 million in tax revenue from the travel industry in 2008. The state received $303.2 million and local governments got $90.6 million.

The top five counties in the state received nearly half of the revenue from travellers. Polk County, which includes Des Moines, received nearly $1.5 billion, with over 15,000 jobs created with a payroll of $291.4 million.

Linn County, which includes Cedar Rapids, was second with more than $590.4 million in spending from travellers. The travel industry employs nearly 6,000 people with an annual payroll of $112.7 million.

We realize that Plymouth County isn't even a blip on the radar screen when it comes to being a travel destination, but we would hazard a guess that the perception is changing.

The Plymouth County Fair, Ice Cream Days and the Old Time Music Festival and numerous other events attract crowds of people to Le Mars. There are many people that work tirelessly to bring events and people to town.

One such event will occur this week as busses will bring 400 people to town on Wednesday and Thursday. People from Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska and Minnesota will travel to Le Mars for a day of shopping, touring and a presentation of "A Dog's Life," presented by the Le Mars Community theatre.

This is the second year for this event. Some of the groups will stay overnight before travelling on to Orange City for the Tulip Festival.

So when you see folks around this week, please be sure to be friendly. Those smiles can translate into many benefits for our community.