Picayune tourism: The economics

Published 1:59 am Sunday, January 29, 2012

The recent 2012 Anglican Synod held in Picayune brought with it thousands of dollars into the local economy. The visitors traveled to Picayune from across the eastern United States, spending money at local hotels, restaurants, and retail establishments. Obviously, this is money that would have never found its way into the local economy had the event not occurred.

What would more events like this, on a regular basis, mean to the local economy?

Consider a hypothetical event which brought in 100 people for a three day event.  Half of them stay by themselves in a hotel room and half stay in pairs. This results in 75 rooms for three nights — 225 room nights. At an average of $70 per night, this would provide $15,750 in hotel revenue. The per diem meal rate for Mississippi is $36. Using this as an estimate for 100 people for 3 days, $10,800 would be spent in local restaurants. Finally, add an additional $25 per day for gas and other retail spending.

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Add all of this together and the event has brought over $34,000 into the local economy.  If Picayune could attract 10 similar events throughout the year, this new spending would create 6 additional local jobs. While this might not seem like a big boost to the local economy — retail sales do not create a lot of jobs per dollar spent, it does provide another important impact in the form of sales taxes.

The City of Picayune derives over half of its annual revenues from sales tax collections. Anything that can be done to boost sales tax revenues in these times of lean public budgets, especially when those taxes are collected from visitors, helps relieve the tax burden on the local citizens.