Letter to the editor: Event impact

To the editor:

eXplore Lawrence uses the Event Impact Calculator that was developed by Destinations International, the organization that represents Destination Marketing Organizations and Convention & Visitors Bureaus around the world, and Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics Company which is one of the world’s foremost independent global advisory firms. The Event Impact Calculator has been established as an industry standard in event impact analysis.

As we have come to understand, Rock Chalk Park and Sports Pavilion Lawrence are regional assets, and we should be looking at events such as the Junior Olympics, Kansas Relays and the Hardwood Classic through a regional perspective.

The current inventory of hotel rooms in Lawrence is around 1,300. To win the bid for the Junior Olympics, we needed to provide 5,000 hotels rooms per night, which required us to look to our regional partners in Kansas City, Olathe, Overland Park and Topeka. These communities saw an increase in their Transient Guest Tax (TGT) collection ranging from 7.8 percent to 28.6 percent during the month of the Junior Olympics.

Here in Lawrence, we saw an increase in hotel sales from $2.7 million to $3.4 million resulting in a 20.9 percent increase in TGT dollars during the month of the Junior Olympics.

The total TGT revenue for the region was $1,904,195 up from $1,681,971.

During a visitor’s stay in Lawrence, only 17.9 percent of every dollar is spent on a hotel room. The remaining 82.1 percent is spent on tourism-related activities. While it would have been great to keep all those dollars in Lawrence and Douglas County during the regional event, that was not the case.

To measure regional events only in terms of a “Lawrence bubble” fails to understand the great opportunity that we have here in Lawrence and Northeast Kansas to become a regional sports powerhouse.