The impact of tourism on Carson City |

The impact of tourism on Carson City

by Candace Duncan, Executive Director, Carson City CVB

The scenic beauty, the clean air, the friendly people, the history.

Many of the qualities of Carson City that make it such a pleasant place to live also make it a pleasant place to visit, and that translates into many benefits for our citizens. As our nation’s economy diversifies, many communities are looking to travel and tourism for the answer. And it’s no wonder.

Just consider these facts: Nationwide, travel and tourism are ranked as the third largest industry. According to the National Travel and Tourism Awareness Council, domestic and international travelers spend at least $330,000 billion dollars annually. Travel and tourism generate $43.6 billion in federal, state and local taxes that help pay for new highways, build schools and support a variety of public services. And in the process, keeps personal taxes down.

Nearly 6 million people are employed in the industry generating an estimated $84 billion dollar payroll. As Carson City residents, you are no strangers to the idea of economic advantages of tourism. You know that visitors eat in our restaurants, buy gas, visit the museums, shop and stay in our motels and hotels. But, you may wonder just exactly what tangible benefits tourism dollars have provided for your community.

On the local level, the 8 percent lodging tax collected by the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau is used to maintain and improve Carson City’s place in the tourism market. The tax also helps to improve the quality of life right here at home.

Annually we collect an average of approximately $700,000 in room taxes. From that amount, we are required by statute to give 3/8 percent to the Nevada Commission on Tourism for the purpose of marketing rural Nevada. You have probably seen their “Other side of Nevada” advertising campaign. Interestingly, Carson City is considered rural Nevada, so we also benefit from this exposure.

Additionally, 2 percent or approximately $173,000, is paid to the Carson City treasury for the purposes of improving recreation for our community. This money has been used in the past to build the community center, the Eagle Valley golf courses, the Centennial Park softball fields and tennis courts and most recently, the Pony Express Pavilion and other improvements to Mills Park.

An additional 3/16 percent (about $16,000) is set aside annually to assist youth sports such as Bobby Sox, Little League and soccer. The CCCVB also designates about $20,000 each year to assist local nonprofit organizations in developing special events for Carson City. Our main criteria for these grants are that the event must have tourism or recreation appeal and the potential to attract overnight visitors.

In the past we have contributed funds for marketing and development for the Nevada Day Parade, Carson City Rendezvous, Kit Carson Trail, Stewart Indian Pow Wow, Western Nevada Community College musicals, the Fourth of July celebration and the Silver Dollar Car Classic, to name just a few. We also use our grant budget for the special event banners that you see hanging along Carson Street during the summer.

The grant deadline for fiscal year 2000/01 is April 1. If you would like a copy of the guidelines or a grant application, call the CCCVB at 687-7410.

The V&T Railroad reconstruction project remains a priority to the Board of Directors of the CCCVB. This is the attraction that will set Carson City apart from our competition. Those of you who have experienced the ride on the Durango-Silverton railroad in Colorado will appreciate the significance of this project to our community. We will no longer be a stop on the way to Reno or Lake Tahoe, but we will be a first-class visitor destination.

This will mean a stronger tourism economy which will benefit the entire region. We have funded operations of the Tri-County Railway Commission and the V&T Historic Society since 1992. Naturally, tourism is a very competitive market and Carson City is in a unique position. We are only 30 minutes from two of the West’s most famous destinations, Reno and Lake Tahoe. In order to prevent ourselves from being perceived as only a day trip, and to take advantage of our “hub” location, we must continue to develop our product and market ourselves accordingly.

The CCCVB marketing budget is $280,000 for fiscal year ’99/’00. It includes brochures, trade show representation, Divine Nine Golf Consortium participation, media advertising and production, public relations, a new meeting planner marketing program,our Web site (, promotional activities and the operations of our 800 NEVADA-1 information line.

Additionally this budget must cover postage on the hundreds of information packets we send out each month. Our basic marketing goal is to increase the number of overnight stays in Carson City. This in turn increases our room tax collections and places us in a better position to provide improved recreational opportunities to our residents as well as a more effective marketing program which will increase our tourism economy.

As we pursue these goals and strive to position ourselves in the tourism marketplace, the impact on our community will be largely positive. Already the face of our downtown has changed. New businesses are arriving that could not be supported by our locals alone, but have given us all more choices for dining and shopping. Our renewed interest in our past has resulted in the preservation of our Historic District.

This effort is really a form of conservation which increases our community pride and gives us an added attraction to share with our visitors.

As we look to the future, travel and tourism will continue to be one of our economic strengths. Increases in visitations will result in a stronger infrastructure as both lodging and sales taxes increase. Our lodging, dining, shopping and attractions will improve, making Carson City an even better place to live.

The next time you see a group of our tourists, give them a friendly smile, encourage them to visit our museums or walk the Kit Carson Trail and tell them your favorite place to eat. Remember that their positive experience will result in a better community for us all.