Visitors generated nearly $1.8 billion in business activity, including direct, indirect, and induced impacts, in the Lake Erie Shores & Islands region in 2013. This valuable information was presented to the Erie and Ottawa County Visitors Bureaus recently in a report on the 2013 travel year. The biennial report was coordinated by the Ohio Tourism Division and executed by Tourism Economics. All 88 Ohio counties have the opportunity to participate in this study.
The $1.8 billion in economic impact reported is up more than 18% from the last economic impact study, done for the 2011 travel year.
In Erie County alone, total economic impact was $1.5 billion. Tourism employment in Erie County for 2013 was 10,757 full-time equivalents with wages of $255.2 million. Part-time jobs are grouped together to create a full-time equivalent (FTE). Travel and tourism also generated $183.2 million in tax receipts.
Ottawa County economic impact was $346 million with tourism-related employment of 2,804 (FTE). Those jobs paid out $66.4 million in wages and generated $43.1 million in tax receipts. Tourism is an integral and driving component of the Lake Erie Shores & Islands economy, sustaining 26% of salaried employment in Erie County and 16.5% in Ottawa County.
Tourism is a diverse composite of economic activities including transportation, recreation, retail, lodging, and food & beverage sectors. The direct sales spending breakdown by sector for our area is approximately 32% retail, 20% recreation & entertainment, 19% food & beverage, 17% lodging, and 12% transportation. Transportation costs only comprise the cost of air, train, ferry transportation, car rental, etc. Gasoline costs are included in the retail sector.
Using average visitor spending data from the 2013 Ohio economic impact study and the $1.8 billion in overall spending, Lake Erie Shores & Islands can estimate a combined visitor total for 2013 of about 9 million visitors.
Joan Van Offeren, Executive Director of Lake Erie Shores & Islands – East shared the following reaction to the report, “This data with consistent year to year methodology, further proves the significant economic impact of our local hospitality industry.”