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National Tourism Week and the local economy

JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s an industry that brings in millions of dollars each year and employs the thousands 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 to make that happen so it’s a big impact on the Joplin market, then you start adding in meals, retail, gas prices, the impact cuts across all tax bases in the community,” said Patrick Tuttle, Director, Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Geography plays a major role in Joplin being a tourist destination thanks to the north-south, east-west access from Highways 44 and 49, not to mention America’s Mother Road cuts right through town.

“We just decided to just extend our trip and head down Route 66 for a while and kind of go 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 stayed the night, hit some of the sights before heading west.

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

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

He also says 83% of the hotels in the Joplin area are in Newton County, with 90% of restaurants in Jasper County — and the cities and towns located along Route 66 also work closely together to draw as many visitors to that historic corridor.

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