National Tourism and Local Economy Week | KSNF/KODE

JOPLIN, Mo. – It’s an industry that brings in millions of dollars every year and employs thousands of people in the Joplin area – tourism.

The first week of May is National Travel and Tourism Week, and it plays a huge role in the local economy.

“We see over 400,000 hotel room nights sold in Joplin every year and that’s about $37 million in transactions for that to happen, so that’s a big impact on the Joplin market, and then you start adding meals, retail, gas prices, the impact ripples through all tax bases in the community,” said Patrick Tuttle, director of the Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Geography plays a major role in the tourist destination of Joplin thanks to north-south and east-west access from Highways 44 and 49, not to mention the American Mother Road that runs through town.

“We just decided to extend our trip and go down Route 66 for a while and see what we could see,” said Stephen Burt, Traveling Route 66.

That’s what brought Stephen Burt, his wife and another couple to town, where they spent the night, toured some of the sights before heading west.

“There seems to be a lot of opportunity for hotel rooms, they seem to be well stocked there, restaurants, lots of restaurants, I think Joplin is on the right track there,” Burt said.

Tuttle says the number one bus destination is the Candy House, while the number one tourist attraction is Grand Falls.

He also says that 83% of hotels in the Joplin area are in Newton County, with 90% of restaurants in Jasper County – and that towns and villages along Route 66 also work closely together to attract so many visitors to this historic corridor.

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