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We’ll be honest…this isn’t your usual blog post.  Here in Columbia we’re very lucky…we get to talk about delicious dining, super shopping and fantastic festivals. Of course, what some people don’t think about is that all of these fun things come together to create one big industry. The Travel and Tourism Industry. When it comes down to it, Tourism means business.

Each year, the industry takes one week (hint: it’s this week!) to celebrate the people who make our destinations shine each and every day and the economic impact travel has on the country.

Nationally speaking, travel has a ginormous (yes, ginormous!) impact. In 2010, $1.8 trillion (that’s a lot of zeros) was generated by domestic and international visitors to the United States. Travel expenditures also supported 14 million jobs across the country, with 1 out of 9 U.S. jobs depended on travel and tourism. Pretty important, right?

Here in Columbia, travel and tourism is just as important. In 2011, tourists spend nearly $322 million in Boone County and tourism-related employment was at almost 10,000 people!

Of course numbers are great, but it all comes down to people who make the industry great. So thank you to our tourism partners; our local hoteliers, restauranteurs, airport workers, taxi drivers, football game ushers and everyone else who puts on a smile and welcomes people to our amazing city.

And, of course, a huge thanks to YOU for visiting.