Stat: How Destination Marketing Drives Economic Growth

Destinations that market themselves experience significantly greater employment and economic growth beyond the visitor economy, according to new research by the Destination & Travel Foundation, conducted by Oxford Economics. The Foundation has released a chart summarizing its findings (click to enlarge):

Through a statistical analysis of more than 200 cities over more than 20 years, case studies, interviews and a literature review, the key findings reveal the broad economic benefits reaped by US destinations who spent an estimated $2 billion on promotion and marketing to encourage leisure and convention travel. 

The visitor economy was found to drive broader economic growth through four primary channels:

  1. Destination promotion supports development of transportation infrastructure, providing greater accessibility and supply logistics that are important in attracting investment to other sectors.
  2. Destination promotion builds awareness, familiarity, and relationships in commercial networks that are critical in attracting investment.  Similarly, destination promotion raises the destination profile among potential new residents, supporting skilled workforce growth that is critical to economic development.
  3. By securing meetings, conventions and trade shows for local facilities, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) create valuable exposure among business decision makers and opportunities to deepen connections with attendees.
  4. Destination promotion supports amenities and a quality of life that are integral to attracting investment in other sectors in the form of human capital, corporate relocations and expansion.

Key jobs data from the study:

  • A 10 percent increase in a destination's visitor-related employment (relative to the US average) causes a 1.5 percent rise in broader employment through catalytic channels.
  • Since 1998, hospitality and tourism employment has expanded nearly 10 percent, while aggregate employment in all other traded clusters shrank 1 percent.

The research also demonstrates that across the U.S., economic trends have supported above average growth in the visitor economy. As income levels rise, consumers are dedicating a greater share of spending to travel and tourism. 

Source: Destination & Travel Foundation