Dear MAC,

I read last week in The Paper that the Montgomery County Visitors & Convention Bureau had a study done that found the tourism and travel industry contributed over $98.7 million to Montgomery County's economy in 2012. That's a mighty big number. Can you break it down for me a little more?


Dear Intrigued,

No problem! I thought that was a grand number as well, so I went over to the presentation by Certec Inc. last night at the Municipal building. Certec is the company that did the analysis and they had a breakdown of a lot of the different aspects of the report.

The first thing they explained was that $70.7 million of the total came from direct expenditures by tourists. Where did the other $28 million come from, you ask? Jim Carr, who is from Certec and gave the presentation, explained that the money was from a "multiplier effect." Basically, local spending is required to support the businesses where tourists spend money. If a hotel has their key cards made at a local vendor, it falls under the indirect contribution. Think of it as money that has to be spent to make supporting tourism possible.

Comparing the county to itself, the tourism industry saw significant improvement over the last decade. In the 2001 study, the industry was found to generate $62.3 million.

Members of the public at the meeting were also interested in how Montgomery County stacked up against similar counties in the state.

"Montgomery County, given its size, and relative to similar sized counties, does quite well," explained Carr.

Tourism was also responsible for 1,267 jobs in the county. This number is 239 more than when the company did a study in 2001. Jobs include Personal services (613), administrative support (142) and marketing and sales (129), to just name a few of the big contributors. According to the report, direct expenditures created 999 of these jobs.

People that visited lodging sites spent the most money each day while in town. They spent $86.97 per day on average compared to $52.96 per day on average for those visiting because of attractions. Dining was the most common activity performed by visitors. The most visited attractions were athletic event sites and Shades State Park.

Of the money brought in to the county, the most was spent on food and beverage (32 percent) and shopping (23 percent). The least was spent on souvenirs (5 percent).

So there you have it. A quick breakdown of the numbers as presented by Certec. There's plenty more to it, but this gives you a look at some of the big numbers and how they break down.