Tourism head says receipts up in Cape Girardeau

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The attractions that draw visitors to Cape Girardeau and the affect they have on the local economy were discussed during the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce's First Friday Coffee at the Show Me Center.

Since 2004, the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau has been using the brand "Where the River Turns a Thousand Tales" to market the city as a Mississippi River community rich in history, said Chuck Martin, executive director of the CVB.

After researching 121,000 overnight lodging records from fiscal year 2011, the CVB determined that the top five states visitors to Cape Girardeau come from are Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas.

During fiscal year 2011, Cape Girardeau's lodging and restaurant tax totaled $1,775,000, an increase of $83,000 from fiscal year 2010. Overnight guests from all 50 states, Canada and a number of foreign countries also visited Cape Girardeau, Martin said.

The CVB receives 30 percent of restaurant and lodging taxes. The remainder of the taxes collected goes toward community projects. Over the years, these funds have covered the payments on bonds issued for creation of the Show Me Center, Shawnee Sports Complex, Osage Centre and Southeast Missouri State University River Campus.

Martin said 2010 was a banner year due to the addition of attractions like Cape Splash Family Aquatic Center, Discovery Playhouse and Lazy L Safari Park.

"We've had a very strong heritage tourism presence, but one of the things we were lacking was family-friendly attractions," Martin said.

The Isle of Capri Casino opening in 2012 will give the Cape Girardeau a new entertainment draw for adults, Martin said.

Its events center is expected to complement the offerings at the Show Me Center and River Campus.

"Between River Campus and the Show Me Center people are now able to in Cape Girardeau enjoy national and international acts like 'Riverdance' and the Moscow Ballet," Martin said.

Since 2008, the Cape Girardeau Storytelling Festival has also expanded the city's entertainment options. In addition to the storytelling festival now held each spring, for the past two years an Evening of Ghost Storytelling has taken place in October. This year for the first time, an Evening of Humorous Storytelling, "Where the River Turns a Thousand Hilarious Tales" will happen Jan. 20. The event will feature nationally renowned storytellers Bil Lepp and Kevin Kling performing at 2 and 7 p.m. at Rose Theatre. Tickets will be available soon.

Pertinent address:

1333 N. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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