To kick off National Travel and Tourism Week (May 2-10), the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau, meetNKY, and the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network (RTN) jointly present findings from a study on the size and strength of Cincinnati USA’s travel and tourism industry and its impact on the regional economy.

The study – commissioned by the three organizations and based on a survey of visitors to the region conducted by Tourism Economics in conjunction with Longwoods International – revealed that the industry continues to be a significant contributor to the Cincinnati USA economy, in terms of revenue, employment, and state and local tax revenues generated. The industry generates visitor spending at hotels, restaurants, shops, attractions, parks and other venues, and supports – directly and indirectly – tens of thousands of jobs. Study highlights include:
  • Cincinnati USA (the 15 county region across three states) hosts 24.1 million visitors annually, including both overnight and day trips. 90% came for leisure, and 40% stayed overnight.
  • Visitors to the region spent $4.4 billion, and expenditures increased an estimated 5.1%, driven by spending on accommodations and food and beverage.
  • More than 74,000 jobs were sustained by Cincinnati USA’s travel and tourism industry. That’s approximately one out of every 14 total jobs in the region.
  • Tourism in the Cincinnati USA region accrued $492 million to state and local governments, offsetting the average household tax burden by $602 per household.
  • Since 2009, tourism sales have grown at an average annual pace of 4.1% (compared to 3% average growth nationally). Total employment sustained by tourism has grown 3.4% per year.
  • Leisure visitors to the region spent $101 per person per day, while business visitors spent $189 per person per day.
  • Visitors to the Cincinnati USA region are increasing spending on both accommodations and dining, with spending in both categories making up nearly half of every visitor dollar.
  • Full Economic Impact Report available for download. 
“The results of this study prove just how vital the travel and tourism industry is for our thriving regional economy,” said Dan Lincoln, president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Convention and leisure business is strong, and economic development and urban renewal projects continue to flourish. It’s all working together to create and sustain new jobs, drive visitor spending, generate tax revenues and position Cincinnati USA as a world-class destination.”

The study’s findings reinforced the importance of recent developments in the region, as visitor spending was found to increase in both the lodging and dining sectors. This increase indicates the recent influx of new and renovated hotel properties to the region, as well as the popularity of new restaurants and renowned chefs revolutionizing the dining scene.

“Quantifying our industry’s impact and momentum is an important exercise,” said Eric Summe, president and CEO of meetNKY, the Northern Kentucky Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The findings reinforce both the power of growth and development efforts happening across the region, and a collaborative business model that maximizes opportunity.”

2015 marks the tenth year of a successful collaborative business model between the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau and meetNKY, attracting visitors to the region through the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network. The RTN’s marketing of tourism experiences of the 15 counties across Cincinnati USA has yielded a decade of positive return on investment in driving leisure visitors to the region.

“The numbers continue to improve and the return on our regional investment in the travel and tourism industry continues to grow,” says Linda Antus, president and CEO of the Regional Tourism Network. “In fact, since 2009, tourism sales have grown at an impressive average annual pace of 4.1%. You can compare this to the national average of only 3%. That’s a powerful impact, building momentum for a region that continues to transform itself and attract new and repeat visitors.”

Positive momentum is expected to continue, as the region prepares to host the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in July. In preparation, the Cincinnati USA CVB has launched the Cincy USA Certified Tourism Ambassador program, a curriculum designed to train front-line hospitality employees, volunteers and the community-at-large to turn every visitor encounter into a positive experience. It complements other collaborative initiatives like the Group Tour and Travel Journalist programs, leveraging the full power of the region to build reputation and enhance the visitor experience.

“We know that a flourishing travel and tourism industry can significantly impact every aspect of life and work in this region,” added Lincoln. “We are always looking for better ways to engage every part of our region to maximize every opportunity. Added together, you have a destination on the rise and a travel and tourism industry that’s worth investing in, cultivating and celebrating to help the region stay on the upward trajectory.”