BLUEFIELD — Tourism’s impact on Mercer County and the surrounding region is being celebrated starting May 8 when National Travel and Tourism Week get underway with a reception in downtown Bluefield.

The Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau will celebrate National Travel and Tourism week (NTTW) with a reception on May 8 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Bluefield Arts Center in downtown Bluefield. All tourism partners, elected officials and community partners are invited to attend, according to Jamie Null, executive director of the Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau .

Mercer County is just one of many communities across the country celebrating how travel matters to American jobs, economic growth and personal well-being, Null said.

The theme of this year’s NTTW, “Travel Matters,” highlights the innumerable ways in which travel makes up the fabric of DESTINATION’s culture and economy.

“This week, we are celebrating travel’s powerful impact on our community. We’re calling on everyone—from elected officials to all of our local friends and neighbors—to join us in saluting this important industry, and to support pro-travel legislation at the local, state and national level.”

From the ATV lodging provider to the Chuck Mathena Center, travel employs a diverse workforce in Mercer County, Null said:

• 1,180 jobs are supported by travel and tourism in Mercer County. Those jobs produce $26.4 million in earnings.

• Travel and tourism generates $8.67 million local and state tax revenue for Mercer County.

• Direct spending by tourists generated $106.4 million. These local figures are an important part of travel’s economic importance nationwide.

• Travel is a $2.5 trillion industry in the U.S.

• These visitors support 15.7 million American jobs—roughly 8.9 million direct travel jobs, and 6.8 million indirect jobs.

• Travel-related spending generated $171 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue in 2018.

“I have seen firsthand how much travel matters to our community,” Null said. “Last year, the CVB helped fill more than 500 hotel rooms every night in Mercer County, generating close to $50,000 in lodging revenue. Those visitors also spent money in fuel, food and retail sales. By bring people into the community, we are impacting the small business owner, our state parks, the arts communities, the ATV trails and much more.“

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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