The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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December 6, 2012

Tourism is paying off for Fayette County

OAK HILL — Tourism does indeed work for Fayette County, Dr. Steve Morse says.

Morse, a tourism economist from the University of Tennessee, is in town today to deliver a presentation on the impact tourism has on jobs, payroll and taxes in the county.

The event, sponsored by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce/New River Gorge CVB, is at the Oak Hill Holiday Lodge. A meet-and-greet will be staged from 11:30 to 11:50 a.m., and lunch will be at 11:55 a.m.

During his presentation, Morse will discuss what tourism means to the county, including how the industry offers a unique competitive advantage in business location decisions and economic development that will prove to be crucial to economic growth of communities in the next 10 years.

According to Morse, via a W.Va. Division of Tourism study prepared by Dean Runyan and Associates, tourism continues to be a strong player on the Fayette County economic scene. In 2010, for example, tourist spending in the county was $67.1 million, compared to $47.1 million a decade earlier (adjusted for inflation using 2010 constant dollars).

That spending generated $4.57 million in state taxes and $696,000 in local taxes.

Tourism also provided 730 jobs with a total worker payroll of $13.5 million.

Morse also points out that each of the 21,526 Fayette households pays $244 less in state and local taxes as a result of taxes generated by tourist spending.

According to U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Labor Statistics employment trends from 2001 to 2011, the tourism industry has remained fairly constant as to the percentage of all jobs it provides in the county. In 2001, tourism and hospitality jobs accounted for 17.9 percent of county jobs, while that number had dipped slightly to 17.3 percent in 2011.

In 2011, retail trade, transportation and utilities provided 26.7 percent of all jobs, compared to 26.6 percent a decade earlier.

Seeing the largest drop during the cycle were manufacturing jobs, which fell from 10 percent to 5.5 percent.

Morse will also discuss the potential economic impact of the July 2013 National Scouting Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Fayette County.

For more information, call 304-465-5617 or e-mail sharon@fayette county.com.

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