Anyone who knows Cape Girardeau understands the city is much more populated than the census numbers suggest.
Virtually every city leader, when describing the city for the first time or talking about the city in an economic context, uses the word "hub" as a way to explain the city's growing posture as a thriving city, the unofficial capital of Southeast Missouri.
Because of this hub status, the city is diverse in its workforce. In its medical offerings. In its entertainment options.
We see the diversity all around us, and it helps our city go ‘round. So many of the people we see in our restaurants, at our shopping venues, on our college campus and in our workplaces are not native Cape Girardeans. They come from far and wide, sometimes monthly, sometimes daily to use the services -- public and private -- that the city offers.
At the Convention and Visitors Bureau on Broadway, the crew has put out a map of the United States. When visitors come, the CVB associate asks them to pin the point on the map of where they are from. It's stunning the number of pins on the board and the miles that separate us from our visitors.
So perhaps it should come as no surprise that the tax revenue numbers continue to rise from restaurant and hotel tax receipts.
For the last two years, hotel tax receipts are up 7 percent and 8 percent; restaurant tax receipts are up 4 and 5 percent.
In today's economic climate, those numbers are astounding. In other forms of tax revenue, in Cape and elsewhere, revenue is flat if not down considerably.
It only stands to reason that this isn't a scenario where the same number of people are spending more. It's that more people are paying these taxes. That means, more people are coming to Cape Girardeau than ever before. There are many reasons to give why more people are visiting Cape Girardeau. More youth sports tournaments and entertainment options -- such as Cape Splash -- are things that immediately come to mind.
But, ultimately it comes down to the solid leadership we have in Cape Girardeau. Not just leadership at major institutions like the city, the university and the hospitals -- which have to be given much of the credit -- but also to restaurant and hotel owners, entrepreneurs, chefs, musicians, event organizers and all who contribute to the flavor that is Cape Girardeau.
We offer thanks, as always, to everyone who helps make Cape Girardeau a great place to live. Today, we offer a tip of the cap to those who make it a great place to visit, too.