MELISSA MILLER ~ firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Sutton, of St. Louis, tells a Civil War battle story during "swapping ground" at the Storytelling Festival in Cape Girardeau, Mo., on Saturday, April 10, 2010. The swapping ground portion of the festival allows anyone the chance to take the stage and try their hand at storytelling.
As a former executive director of a convention and visitors bureau myself, I know first hand the economic impact visitors have on an area. (I worked as director of the Spencer County Visitors Bureau in Santa Claus, Ind., from 2006-2009)
This weekend's Cape Girardeau Storytelling Festival is an excellent example of why it's important for our community to have special events to attract more visitors.
Tourists equal big bucks in the cash register for local hotels, restaurants, shops and gas stations.
Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau public relations director Stephanie Lynch estimates that out-of-town guests spend about $150 per person per day while visiting here.
That breaks down to an average of $45 for lodging, $35 for food, $15 for gasoline and about $55 in miscellaneous expenses like festival tickets, shopping, snacks and souvenirs.
This year's Storytelling Festival attendees came from 16 different states, including Ohio, Michigan, Mississippi and Florida.
We have a great community here in Cape and shouldn't mind sharing it with visitors. Our local businesses will appreciate it.