Topeka Tourism at Record Highs in 2019
Smith Travel Research, a global analytics company focused on benchmarking the global hospitality industry provided citywide hotel data showing that Topeka hotels have sold 7,585 more room nights in 2019 than the same date range in 2018. The report also shows total citywide hotel revenues to be $23,617,580 during the time period. That number is $264,000 higher than the previous all-time high through the first six months of a year.
“Overall, the Topeka hotel market has proven strong in 2019.” Mike Bell, vice president of Visit Topeka said. “What is exciting to us is that we cannot attribute these gains in any one travel segment. Sporting events, conferences, and general tourism are showing increases due to quality sports facilities, major improvements to our existing attractions like Camp Cowabunga at the Zoo, new attractions like the Evel Knievel Museum, annual events and a strong sales effort by the local hotels and Visit Topeka sales teams.”
Topeka levies a Transient Guest Tax on overnight hotel stays which is similar to most cities around the United States. The 7% tax goes towards development and improvements to the Sunflower Soccer Complex, Evel Knievel Museum, Constitution Hall, Evergy Plaza and Jayhawk Theatre. The majority goes to Visit Topeka Inc. tasked with marketing and selling the city to tourist, conferences and tradeshows, sporting and special events. An additional $1 per room assessment goes towards future operations of Every Plaza. This assessment was initiated by the Topeka Lodging Association to help augment tourism in the community while at the same time providing an improved quality of place for locals.
“A record pace like this also means record economic impact to our community,” said Brett Oetting, president of Visit Topeka. “Visitors not only stay in hotels but also spend money eating at our restaurants, shopping and attending other events and attractions. The sales tax revenues go directly to helping support fire, police, parks and recreation and road maintenance. Travel and tourism eases the tax burden for local residents.”