Tourism is $1 Million a day business for Montgomery

(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The numbers are in and the economic impact of tourism in the Capital City is huge! City leaders announced the totals of tourism on a daily basis and what they found may surprise you.

"We wanted to expand our horizons and look at Montgomery and the history," said California resident Gerald Roche.

He and his wife, Jeanine, are visiting Montgomery. It's tourists like the Roches who help Montgomery thrive. In fact, according to recent research, tourism brings in $1.3 million every day to the capital city.

"That's amazing, that's wonderful," said Jeanine Roche.

Atlanta resident April Kimble also made a trip to Montgomery for a conference and to visit her sister. She says when it comes to tourism revenue "I'm definitely spending money."

Although the number seems high, leaders say they are being rather conservative and think it is even higher.

This is how the numbers break down: With 80 hotels in Montgomery, there are 6,815 rooms available. Typically, every night those rooms are at a 62 percent occupancy. At an average of $75 per room, daily hotel revenue is $316,875. Researchers averaged two people per travel party, equaling 8,450 people every night. With an average of $67 a meal, the daily dining revenue equaled $566,150. For daily miscellaneous expenses, researchers averaged $100 per travel party, which totaled $422,500. Add hotel, dining, and travel expenses all up and that totals $1,305,525.

"If you just take the city of Montgomery at three and a half cents and the hotel lodging tax, you are looking at about $60,000. Put the county to that and that's another $30,000. So $90,000 a day for local government times 365, that's $32 million. That's not chump change," said an excited Montgomery Mayor, Todd Strange.

City leaders say they aren't stopping here. They hope to continue to develop downtown along with sporting complexes to increase tourism even more.

"Montgomery has come a long way as far as attractions and the whole downtown is looking up," praised Kimble.

Dawn Hathcock with the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce added, "we do hope that it's something that will spark interest and then they say 'we were here for two days but we might come back for a weekend, may come back for a couple of days.' When they go back and tell people, 'we went to Montgomery, Alabama and had a great time."

As far as visiting again, the Roches said emphatically, "we will be back, that's for sure."

The city is also turning to technology to help bring people to the area. There is now a new smartphone tool for visitors and residents.

Just text MGMAL to 313131. You'll get a text with a link connecting you to a mobile website talking all about hotels, restaurants, attractions, events and more.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.