Destination & Tourism Rich Thomaselli September 05, 2022
Call it revenge travel or a pent-up demand or whatever you want, but even some of the smaller destinations in the U.S. have reaped the benefits of a Summer 2022 return to tourism.
It’s not just the bigger, more familiar suspects like New York City, Las Vegas, Walt Disney World, the beaches on both coasts, or the Grandy Canyon, either.
Smaller states and cities are also cashing in and it just shows the diversity and breadth of tourism in the U.S. The state of Tennessee, for instance, is hoping to piggyback off a record 2021 spend in tourism dollars.
Tennessee has large cities and thriving music scenes in Nashville and Memphis, but even places off the beaten path are enjoying a return to tourism.
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In Hot Springs County, Wyoming, visitors are flocking to the hot spring, wildlife, hiking trails, fishing, and a dinosaur center. Tourism was up 121 percent through August compared to the same time period a year ago, a record for the area.
“We did pretty excellent for the tourism dollars coming in,” Treasurer Audra Dominguez said at the Hot Springs County Travel and Tourism’s August meeting, according to WNS News.
In Branson, Missouri, a popular destination that was once just a historic downtown and transformed itself into a big slice of Americana with its entertainment offerings, officials and business owners are hoping for a springboard effect. Not only has the summer been on pace and likely will surpass 2021’s record-breaking summer season, but there’s also optimism for a fall season that is traditionally less well-attended in Branson.
”We are very, very encouraged about what summer brought us and really looking forward to a great fourth quarter in Branson,” Steve Hartley, co-owner of Dick’s Five and Ten in town, told a local media outlet.
Added Ashley McCauley, who works at the Historic Downtown Information Center and Ticket Outlet, says the competitive
“Branson is a little bit cheaper on the tourism level for people to come to visit compared to Florida or some of the other destinations around us,” she said.
And, by most accounts, inflation hasn’t seemed to hurt Atlantic City and Cape May, the two most popular destinations on the south end of the famed Jersey Shore.
“I think the summer was strong,” Michael Chait, president of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, told The Press of Atlantic City newspaper. “We’re a beach community, and there’s still a strong interest to come to the beach.”
Atlantic City might not be Las Vegas, and in fact it was only a few years ago that AC seemed to be shuttering hotel-casinos as fast as they went up. But according to The Press, Atlantic City’s nine hotel-casinos took in $435.1 million in the month of July, its strongest month July of 2011.
These are just a sample of the many destinations receiving a bounce back in tourism in 2022.
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