A Joplin organization celebrates its 30th anniversary this year of welcoming people to the city.
The Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau is the only city department that doesn’t require a dime of money from the city’s general revenue fund to operate. Yet, for the last thirty years they’ve helped bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city.
“We know that visitors that come to town are probably gonna buy a tank of gas, probably gonna have a meal, hopefully they’ll go hit retail, so they’re hitting all tax bases across the city so it’s a very important economic for the community to continue to promote Joplin,” says Patrick Tuttle.
They get their funding from the lodging tax which is placed on every hotel room that’s rented in the city. Tuttle says there’s about 400 thousand rooms rented each year, but Tuttle says tourists don’t even have to rent a room to have a huge impact on the local economy, and many of them aren’t even from Missouri, and in some cases not even from this country.
“We know that Joplin brings in about $15 million dollars in revenue from international travelers and a lot of those are attributed to Route 66,” says Tuttle.
“The Convention & Visitors Bureau is very valuable to our community, they are keep us busy all the time, tourists are coming in for specific menu items some times they’re looking for Bonnie & Clyde, sometimes they’re looking for Route 66, sometimes they’re looking for downtown and historic preservation,” says Brad Belk.
With so much media attention focused on Joplin following the 2011 tornado, Patrick Tuttle says you may be surprised to find out that across the street at Cunningham Park and here at Mercy Park have actually turned in to tourism attractions.
“Every new resident in town was most likely a guest first so the more we bring people to town to see what what Joplin has to offer to see what our hospitality is like the more likely they’ll become a resident here,” says Tuttle.
As part of the CVB’s 30th anniversary, a new photo exhibit has been put up on the walls around the CVB office inside City Hall at 6th and Main. Many of the pictures are enlarged postcards of hotels and motels that have long since been torn down. Some of them contain information on how much it cost to rent a room. In some of Joplin’s oldest hotels, you could rent a room for less than a dollar a night.
The display will be up through the end of the summer.