Tourism continues to drive economic progress for region
$2.12 billion in tourism sales for Lake Erie Shores & Islands
By JILL BAUER
Shores & Islands
SANDUSKY – Summer is here and with it comes warmer temperatures, some of the best fishing in the world and tourists. And thanks to a wide variety of world-class activities, attractions, restaurants, overnight accommodations and more, combined with the marketing power of those businesses and Lake Erie Shores & Islands, the tourism industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds in our region.
According to a recent study conducted by Tourism Economics, one of the world’s leading providers of economic analysis, visitors helped generate $2.12 billion in tourism sales in 2017, an increase of nearly 8 percent from the 2015 study. In addition, one-third of the total tourism sales in Northwest Ohio ($6.5 billion in 22 counties) are generated in the Lake Erie Shores & Islands region’s two counties, Erie and Ottawa. These numbers help estimate that close to 11 million visitors traveled to the Shores & Islands region in 2017.
Total tourism sales include direct, indirect and induced spending and represent a number of different economic activities including transportation, recreation, retail, lodging, and food & beverage. The direct sales spending breakdown by sector for our area is approximately 31 percent retail, 20 percent recreation & entertainment, 19 percent food & beverage, 18 percent lodging, and 12 percent transportation. Transportation costs only comprise the cost of air, train, ferry transportation, car rental, etc. Gasoline costs are included in the retail sector.
In the Lake Erie Shores & Islands region, tourism also provides jobs. One in every four jobs in Erie County is tourism-related as well as one in every six jobs in Ottawa County. Almost 14,000 people are employed within the travel and tourism industry locally. Tourism wages were $357 million in 2017.
“Our mission here is to grow the region’s tourism economy through collaborative promotion that increases visitation and makes Lake Erie Shores & Islands the ideal place to play, live, and work,” said Larry Fletcher, president of Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands. “These numbers help reinforce the fact that tourism is a major economic driver for our region.”
In 2017, the tourism industry in the region also generated $255 million in taxes. More than $75 million in State of Ohio taxes were generated by Erie and Ottawa County tourism activities, with an additional $53 million in county taxes for both Erie and Ottawa Counties. Tax dollars generated through tourism help support many of the municipal services our residents count on, and reduce our residents’ tax bills.
The data for this study is coordinated by TourismOhio and executed by Tourism Economics, a division of Oxford Economics.
Jill Bauer is public relations manager for Lake Erie Shores & Islands, 216 E. Water St., Sandusky shoresandislands.com.