CVB celebrates National Travel & Tourism Week
Officials and leaders in The Colony have long touted the community’s growing reputation as a destination city. While there’s been a wealth of amenities in The Colony for years, the recent addition of Grandscape along the 121 Corridor and subsequent economic development elsewhere has truly transformed the community once and for all.
Everyone knows about Nebraska Furniture Mart, the nation’s largest home furnishings store. Now open alongside NFM are Cheddar’s, Rock & Brews, and Hard Eight BBQ, among others. MiCocina is scheduled to open today, May 2.
With places to go, you need places to stay. The Courtyard by Marriott recently opened, joining the Fairfield Inn & Suites and the Residence Inn in The Cascades. Finishing touches are moving quickly on the Holiday Inn at Paige and Memorial. A La Quinta is taking root further west on Memorial near Texas Roadhouse. There’s also a Hyatt Place going up next door to Topgolf.
But what does all that mean for the city’s residents, other than the fact they have more convenient dining, recreation, and shopping options? Diane Baxter, Director of Communications and Tourism for The Colony, said it’s all about the bottom line: tourism brings revenue.
“Tourist dollars don’t come just from hotels. The restaurants and shopping locales generate significant tax revenue for the city,” she said. “Those dollars go toward building a better community in the form of better infrastructure and better services.”
And it’s not just the high-profile, newer development fueling the city’s growth. Every business in The Colony contributes to the community’s reputation as a destination city. Each gas station, convenience store, and fast food restaurant generates an experience for customers, whether it’s visitors or residents.
“Here at The Colony Convention & Visitors Bureau, we hope every customer service employee in the city puts their best food forward, and shares their pride in the community when doing business with our visitors,” Baxter said. “Those employees are the face of our city, just as much as Nebraska Furniture Mart or Topgolf.”
As part of National Travel & Tourism Week May 1-7, The Colony CVB has installed a travel-themed display at The Colony Public Library highlighting all there is to do in the city. Travel & Tourism Week is now in its 33rd year. The event annually celebrates travel in America by encouraging destinations to showcase the impact of travel and tourism.
“Travel is a job-creator, and contributes to healthy families by creating opportunities for fitness and fellowship,” Baxter said. “Some of our best memories are those of going on road trips with siblings and parents.”
In fact, studies have confirmed the positive health effects of travel and time off, from reducing risk of heart disease to decreasing depression.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, travel generates $2.1 trillion for the U.S. economy, with domestic and international travelers directly spending $947 billion in 2015 – that’s $2.6 billion a day, $108 million per hour, $1.8 million a minute, and $30K a second.
All that spending resulted in $147.9 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments in 2015. Without that revenue from the travel and tourism industry, each U.S. household would pay an average of $1,187 more in taxes each year.
“Those broader statistics are mirrored locally, which goes back to how tourism directly impacts the quality of life for residents in our community,” Baxter said. “Not to mention all the new job openings that become available every time a new business opens in The Colony.”
Nationally, travel supports more than 15 million jobs. One in every nine American jobs depends on travel, which is one of the top 10 employers in 49 out of 50 states.
While those numbers are impressive, Baxter said she and the rest of the leadership team at the city understand well the concerns of residents impacted by all the construction associated with growth.
“Main Street reconstruction is an obvious inconvenience and contributes greatly to traffic congestion throughout the city,” she said. “We just have to keep reminding everyone of the long-term benefits, and that there’s an end in sight. We’re building something special here in The Colony and people are already coming.”