Visitors are spending money in Montgomery County again: ‘We have outstanding world-class attractions here’

Increase reported in tourism direct sales in 2021, and 2022 going well.

People are visiting Montgomery County again after a global pandemic shut down most travel a couple years ago.

A direct impact of $1.4 billion in sales was recorded in 2021 here, according to a tourism impact study, a 20% increase from 2020 when COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were at their height.

“It’s encouraging news for us,” said President and CEO of the Dayton Convention and Visitors Bureau Jacquelyn Powell. “We have seen the return of leisure travel as well as business, youth and amateur sports. Those types of things have all started to come back, and that’s helping these numbers grow.”

The bureau said more than 22,000 jobs were supported by visitor spending, and the spending generated $332 million in government revenue last year. The study was done by Tourism Economics.

The spending didn’t match the pre-pandemic 2019, but Powell said there are signs that people are being attracted here in 2022. Last month, about 80,000 people attended the CenterPoint Energy Dayton Air Show. The event attracted closer to 50,000 people last year.

“Things are going well through the first half of the year,” she said. " We are seeing that the hospitality industry is continuing to have positive results and seeing businesses rebound.”

An increase in families visiting the area has been reported over the last year, said Brady Kress, president & CEO of Carillon Historical Park. He said the park was able to stay open for much of the pandemic, but it has seen an increase in visitors since the pandemic slowed things down.

“We are seeing an increase in out-of-state traffic,” he said.

“It really is nice to see, and people are happy to be back in the park and enjoying the different shows. We are real pleased that things are returning back to different levels,” Kress said, noting visitor levels are not all the way back to pre-pandemic strength.

He said Dayton has a lot to offer visitors that other places can’t. Dayton has history people are interested in, he said.

“It’s super unique history,” Kress said. “That’s what’s so great about Carillon Park, we really are directing a lot of energy and time telling those unique stories that no body else in the world can claim.

“Dayton changed the world and we like to illustrate how that happened.”

Powell said Dayton offers a lot of attractions throughout the year that bring people to the country from all over.

“We have outstanding world-class attractions here. We have a vibrant art scene in our community, we have all of the wonderful things it takes to attract folks, and once they are here we have great and unique, locally-owned dining establishments as well as fabulous hotels.”

People visiting the area is important to the economy, she said.

“Tourism is big businesses, even if you’re not Orlando, Florida or New York City. It’s big business here in our community,” Powell said. “It’s an industry that supports a lot of jobs and brings vibrancy to the community.”

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