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Kansas City Breaks Tourism Records

New research reveals increases in visitors and visitor spending

According to new research recently released, the Kansas City region welcomed 24 million visitors in 2014, a new record for the destination. This accounts for a 5-percent jump from the previous record in 2012, when 22.1 million travelers visited the area. This growth in travel is just one of the new findings from research commissioned by Visit KC, the city's hospitality and tourism organization.

Conducted every two years by the firms of Tourism Economics and Longwoods International, the studies look at the economic impact of tourism and the profile of travelers to the Kansas City area-defined by the counties of Jackson, Clay, Platte, Johnson and Wyandotte.  

The research supports that tourism remains a vital and growing component of the Kansas City economy. Among the other findings in the economic impact study:

  • Visitor spending grew to a record $3.1 billion in 2014, growing 12 percent in two years.  
  • Tourism generated a record $5.1 billion in economic impact for the region, including indirect and induced.
  • Visitors to Kansas City spent $845 million at hotels and motels in the region in 2014-$73 million more when compared year over year.   
  • Tourism-generated employment reached a new high of 46,621 jobs, continuing a multi-year growth trend. One in 19 jobs in the region (5.2 percent) is sustained by tourism either directly or indirectly.
  • In 2014, tourism to the region generated $153 million in state taxes and $202 million in local taxes.
  • Taxes paid by visitors saved the average Kansas City household $525 in taxes in 2014.

"Kansas City has accelerated the improvement of new products that enhance the resident and visitor experience-from our walkable convention district to the arts and culture scene to the new streetcar that comes online next year," said Ronnie Burt, Visit KC president & CEO. "We are thrilled that visitors are taking notice, to the tune of 24 million travelers. We are excited about the future and will continue to build upon this wonderful momentum."

Kansas City witnessed steady growth in overnight visitation, recording a 6.2-percent increase year over year. About 48 percent of visitors (11.4 million) stayed overnight, with 52 percent (12.6 million) accounting for day trips. The majority of overnight visits (80 percent) were for leisure travel. Business travel (business trips, meetings or conventions) accounted for 17 percent of overnight trips-up from 13 percent in 2012.

The new research also shows continued growth in tourism spending throughout the metro. Jackson County accounted for the highest percentage of visitor spending at 48 percent while Wyandotte County accounted for the least at 6 percent (a bump from 2 percent in 2012). Johnson County spending grew from 17 percent in 2012 to 22 percent last year. The growth in Johnson and Wyandotte counties is attributed to new retail, dining and lodging offerings in the area.

In addition to gains on the economic front, the 2014 visitor profile study also revealed the demographic makeup of Kansas City's average traveler:

  • The average visitor is a 42-year-old male, traveling with a party size of 2.6 people.
  • Daily spending per visitor is $63.33 and the average length of stay 2.4 nights.
  • Thirty-eight percent of travelers stay in a hotel, and 90 percent travel to the destination by car.
  • Kansas City's largest origin markets by state are Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Iowa, California and Illinois.

"Tourism is a crucial component necessary to ignite our city," said Burt. "The spark has been lit and the nation is taking notice. According to these new findings, visitors are coming from as far as California and New York to experience our cultural activities, sporting events and culinary scene." 

About Visit KC
Visit KC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to ignite global passion for visiting Kansas City. Through marketing, sales and service of the convention and tourism industries, Visit KC supports a vital and growing component of the local economy-generating more than 46,000 jobs and $5.1 billion in economic impact annually. For more information about Kansas City, go to

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