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Therapeutic.  Adventure. Freedom. Jobs.

This year, to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, our industry is using the theme “Travel is ___” to highlight why tourism is vital to our economy and what it means to different people and communities.

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Travel can be anything to you – family time, a chance to get away, a way of life, and, possibly most important, 15 MILLION U.S. jobs. The opens in a new windowU.S. Travel Association says, “travel to and within the United States provides significant economic benefits for the nation, generating more than $2.1 trillion in economic output in 2014, with $927.9 billion spent directly by travelers.” That’s a lot of zeros.

Travel is essential to the U.S. economy, and it’s no different here in Columbia. In 2014, Boone County’s total tourism-related expenditures came out to over $368 million and tourism-related employment was over 11,000. What does that mean? Well, it means travel is a big deal.

This week, we’d like to know what travel is to YOU! DSC00663editopens IMAGE file

Come by the Convention and Visitors Bureau and fill out a card to share what travel is to you. There are also cards ready to be filled out at the visitor center in the City Hall lobby and the airport. Take a look at what we have so far. (Parks and Recreation Director, Mike Griggs, stopped by and added to the wall – can you guess which one?)

If you can’t stop by, we’d still love to know what travel means to you: tweet us at opens in a new window@ColumbiaMOCVB or tag us on Instagram opens in a new window@VisitColumbiaMO, and use the hashtag #NTTW2015.

Let’s do more than celebrate – let’s show everyone why travel is important to us and our communities. And in case you needed an excuse for a weekend getaway… well, it IS National Travel and Tourism Week.