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Stoking Local Tourism

Explore St. Louis Group Showcases Top Attractions, Dining, Entertainment Options

One doesn't have to be a first-time visitor to marvel at the entertainment opportunities offered by the Gateway to the West area. And, there's one set of local professionals tasked with seeing the region through new perspectives each day. As the official travel and tourism platform for St. Louis, 'Explore St. Louis' initiatives and staff are covered by 11/15 of funding derived from a 3.75 percent tax paid by visitors on transient lodging in St. Louis City and County.

As the St. Louis region's official destination marketing organization, Explore St. Louis' initiatives and efforts focus on promoting the region as a must-visit destination, states Catherine Neville, Explore St. Louis vice president of communications. The team does so through varied marketing means, from traditional advertising to hosting national media tours.

A study conducted by the University of Missouri-St. Louis indicated that activities of Explore St. Louis directly contribute $5.9 billion to the local economy on an annual basis, Catherine adds. 

"We're dedicated to raising the St. Louis region's profile and promoting the city we love as a bucket-list destination," Catherine says. "Whether visiting for a Cardinals game, experiencing our world-class arts scene or digging into our award-winning culinary spots, St. Louis offers visitors and locals unforgettable experiences."

She says 28.2 million visitors come to St. Louis annually for leisure, conventions, meetings or business travel. "Tourism provides jobs for 90,000 area residents, with those tourism workers earning $3.4 billion in wages yearly," she adds. 

The industry generates $1.1 billion in local, state and federal taxes each year, Catherine shares, with each household in St. Louis City and County receiving $1,201 a year in tax savings as a result of travel and tourism.

"Travel and tourism ranks among top seven industries in St. Louis City and County," according to Explore St. Louis statistics.

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  • Union Station Grand Hall