The Independence Tourism Department is pleased to announce that business is on the upswing. With an 8 percent year-over-year increase in guest occupancy and revenue, the rise is a good indicator of renewed interest, enhanced sales and marketing, new branding resulting in increased economic impact.
“The business travel sector has certainly made gains this past year,” said Cori Day, Director of Tourism for Independence, Missouri. “But there are several factors at play. A renewed sense of community pride is welcoming to our visitors’ experience.”
“When we say “Real People. Real Progress.” --- we know that the people of Independence exemplify this image. The people are our brand,” said Day.
The people are a significant asset of Independence. And so are the attractions and sites and visitors. The guest occupancy tax is a reflection of leisure or business visitors staying in an Independence hotel. The tax revenue is then reinvested to enhance the experiences of both visitors and residents alike.
One of the increases in tourism is due to a new sales effort to bring sporting events to Independence. In October of this year Independence will host Fireball Run, a ‘great race’ style treasure hunt with automobiles. Also the U.S. Figure Skating Regional Championships will be held in Indepencence in October, 2015, 3v3 Soccer Regional Tournament and the Independence Senior Softball Association are just a few of the new groups. The new events that have come from these efforts account for more than 10,000 future hotel rooms to be occupied in Independence.
Another positive factor will be realized with the opening of Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in early 2015.
“Certainly the increase is positive for everyone,” added Day. “The more visitors we have the better we can increase the momentum.”
In the summer of 2010 groups of neighbors, faith-based organizations, non-profits, small business and community leaders came together to discuss how they could make Independence a better place. A collective team called ReThink Independence formed and determined next steps, aligning Independence on the path toward a new future. Three years, hundreds of surveys and 2,000 people later, the campaign has created a common message that has been adopted in the tourism efforts.
“Simply put, the economy is doing better, but also local economic development is increasing,” siad Tom Lesnak, President of Independence Economic Development Council. “There have been some significant corporate investments in our area, and capital investment and expansion is at an all-time high. Certainly the new branding in the Metro Kansas City area raises the profile of Independence.”
Independence is at home with history, trails and attractions. Yet a new wave of progress is taking over in the form of entrepreneurs seeking personal success at the Regional Ennovation Center; dedicated local artists worked diligently to designate Englewood as an official arts district; a new upsurge of young families embracing a sense of walkability and community by purchasing and renovating historic homes near the Independence Square and starting businesses near their homes; and the construction of an all-inclusive playground at McCoy Park.
“We have reached the tipping point of something truly amazing. Residents and visitors alike can call Independence a place where memories are made, homes are filled with joy and business is thriving,” said Day.
About Independence, Missouri: Independence, Missouri was built on the pride of the people that call it home, including President Harry S Truman. Its residents are down-to-earth, hard-working folks who are proud of their history, excited about their future, and welcome visitors with friendly hospitality.
A town rich in history and honest values, Independence is also the starting point of the Westward movement. Just 20 minutes from downtown Kansas City, it has a population of 117,000 with a small-town feel. Sophisticated dining, shopping and an emerging arts scene provides a contemporary atmosphere for the 16 heritage attractions and outdoor sporting activities.
Independence: Real People. Real Progress. www.visitindependence.com