Yesterday at our annual meeting we had guest speaker Roger Rickard to speak on the value of a visitor. He spoke to our members and partners about the economic impact of tourism and how important it is to not only us as hospitality partners, but the region and the nation as a whole. Think of the consequences if tourism did not exist. Could the locals in Orlando support Disney World? And what would happen to Las Vegas? Who would do all the shopping that goes on at Mall of America?
But the one important point that hit home to me was how undervalued and unacknowledged our Greater Lansing visitors are. Who exactly are these visitors and why dont we recognize them? Well, as Roger pointed out, a visitor coming into Lansing generally looks just like any other local person. They might sit right next to you at a restaurant or at a sporting event. They may be next in line to buy peanuts at the Peanut Shop. Unless you catch them getting into a car with out of state plates or theyre wearing a fanny pack and wearing a sign that says, I am a Visitor, you may never notice them. But theyre here. And they are very important. So important that Im taking back the fanny pack remark.
Statistics show that our region welcomes over 4.7 million visitors every year. These visitors spend money on transportation, accommodations, dining, shopping and more. They spend an average of $424 million in our area each year. And they support over 7,2000 jobs that employ Lansing area residents. That is big business.
So next time you think that Greater Lansing is not a destination you may want to think again.
**If youd like to positively impact the experience of a visitor, consider becoming one of our highly acclaimed Certified Tourism Ambassadors. You too, can be knowledgeable and helpful to the person sitting at the next table on your lunch hour, or who approaches you on the street when they ask you a question about Lansing.