Tourism is big business, and Copperas Cove continues to be the flagship in Coryell County to bring in the bucks.
Visitors spent $865 billion on tourism in the U.S. last year with $6 billion spent in Texas. That translates to $60 million in Coryell County, said Dr. Mourad Sebti, economics professor of Central Texas College.
“Those totals are for direct spending on items such as tickets, food, and gas and do not include the multiplier of money spent, which creates jobs, increases earnings, and results in more spending within the area,” Sebti said. “For every dollar spent, $1.88 is the induced effect of direct purchases a traveler makes. Every dollar from visitors has a ripple effect.”
In Coryell County in 2012, earnings increased by $12 million resulting in 600 new jobs, Sebti said.
With the Krist Kindl Markt opening today through Sunday, attendees can expect to have not only a festive Christmas experience with a German influence, but they also pump money into the economy.
The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce conducts five major events annually and added the Zombie Fest this year.
Officials estimated 200 zombies participated and another 400-500 people attended. Price said it cost less than $500 to execute the event.
“Tourism is an industry. It doesn’t just produce a product you can see,” Price said. “Everyone is involved in tourism with things as simple as restaurant referrals from our hotel front desk clerks to shopping referrals that will bring visitors back to our area even after the event.”
For the Great American Bicycle Race, which grows every year, 227 hotel rooms were rented at an approximate cost of $125 each; 856 participated, an increase of 50 riders over last year.
Price said this year’s race welcomed riders from eight different states. Just from the hotel sales alone, $23,875 was spent directly and $53,345 indirectly. The chamber budgets $7,000 to execute the event.
“By shear volume, the bicycle race is a true tourism event that showcases our community,” Price said.
The Rabbit Festival held each May is the city’s largest tourism event with a budget of $60,000-$65,000. An estimated 15,000-18,000 people attend the event. A low estimate that each attendee spends $10 results in $180,000 in direct spending and $338,400 indirect spending.
The average individual reaps benefits from the sales tax that support the cost of city services, Price said. Businesses and citizens benefit indirectly.
Sebti said at a sales tax rate of 8.25 percent, Coryell County returned $3.5 million to the state, keeping $700,000. It is difficult to assess specifically how much ripple effect dollars being spent have on the economy, Sebti said.
“It implies a willingness of spending and depends on the kind of tourist,” he said. “But, Copperas Cove continues to be the flag carrier in Coryell County when it comes to tourism and that’s good for the economy.”