A study by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company showed a 4 percent growth in tourism for Shawnee County for 2014. Visitors spent $341.5 million in Shawnee County in 2014 which is $13 million more than the previous year. This spending contributed $56.1 million in tax revenues with $33.2 million accruing to state and local governments. These numbers rank Shawnee County 4th among all counties in the state according to tourism spending. “This study reaffirms Visit Topeka’s view that tourism is an important economic development driver for the community,” said Brett Oetting, president and CEO of Visit Topeka. Oetting says that 2015 hotel revenues and visitation are ahead of pace over the 2014 marks in this study. “Great things are happening in this community and people want to be where positive things are taking place. Topeka is becoming the destination many always believed it could be.”
The study also shows that tourism directly supported 3,567 jobs with overall visitor-supported economic activity supporting 4,930 – one out of every 20 jobs in the county. Tourism spans nearly a dozen economic sectors including lodging, recreation, retail, food and beverage, car rental, taxi services, travel agents, museums and event venues.
"We host over 700 event days at our complex" said H.R. Cook, general manager of the Kansas Expocentre. "Over 60 percent of attendees to our events are from outside Shawnee County. With the continued success of events such as the NHPA World Horseshoe Tournament, Ultimate Derby Blizzard Bash and NAIA Wrestling visitors and event producers are realizing the Topeka is an affordable, entertaining destination where the community as a whole act as ambassadors to Shawnee County."
Tourism Economics completed the study at the request of Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Tourism in the entire state of Kansas contributed $6.2 billion in direct spending in 2014.
As Topeka's official destination marketing organization, Visit Topeka Inc. is dedicated to improving the area economy through marketing the region as an exceptional destination for meetings, events, sports and leisure tourism. Visit Topeka Inc. is committed to advocating for community development that will attract new visitors and enhance the community's quality of life. Go to VisitTopeka.com for more information.