Jefferson City expects bigger tourism budget for 2018

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JEFFERSON CITY – It’s been a good year in tourism for Jefferson City, and it could get even better.

The Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau finished its budget proposal for 2018 with higher expectations for revenue than last year.

The committee’s budget calls for a projected $1.2 million in revenue for next year. The 2017 budget revenue was set at just over $1.15 million. The increase is less drastic than between 2016 and 2017, where 2016’s revenue was set at $906,000.

Executive Director Diane Gillespie said the revenue for 2017 is 5 percent higher than it was projected. Gillespie said she attributes the eclipse for part of that by increasing lodging tax revenue 11 percent that month.

"August is not a good month for Jefferson City in the lodging industry," Gillespie said. "When the eclipse came about, we were very thankful that in came in August, one that we did have the availability to accommodate our visitors coming in for the event, and secondly that it did happen in August."

The biggest revenue sources will see slight upticks from last year. The old Missouri State Penitentiary’s tours expect to bring in $535,000 in 2018, up from $500,000 last year. The prison also has the highest expenses, spending almost $395,000 for staffing, advertising, utilities and museum.

The city’s lodging tax, which was raised to 7 cents per dollar in 2011, also expects to bring in almost $500,000 in the next year.

Gillespie said the bureau is still looking at ways to improve further.

"You always want more," Gillespie said. "The sports market is a big market for us with the sporting venues that we have around the city and the partnerships we have with the event planners within that area. We do look at how do we continue to grow that."

The budget proposal will be presented to the Jefferson City Finance Committee on Nov. 9 before going to the Jefferson City Council on Nov. 20.