How Tourist Expenditures in Toledo, OH Impact Retail Business / by Matt Rubin

Busy Sidewalk In Downtown

Toledo, Ohio holds a wealth of attractions for tourists of any taste; from the Toledo Zoo with its railway safari and world-renowned Toledo Museum of Art and Glass Pavilion to its close proximity to the 364-acre Cedar Point Amusement Park, this city is a pleasure for any traveler.

The tourism industry is both a blessing and an economic driver for the city of Toledo and its surrounding areas. Last year, reports showed that the tourist industry was responsible for $5.6 billion in sales, $1.3 billion in employee income, and $720 million in state and local taxes for the northwestern part of Ohio. For Lucas County alone, tourism accounted for 20,000 jobs and $421.8 million in employee income. Between Toledo's sports teams and regular events at the Huntington Center, Toledo sees an estimated 1 million visitors annually to its downtown area. The cyclical effects of this growth means that the more Toledo grows and improves, the better the events and businesses they attract will be, thereby drawing in even more tourism than has previously been seen.

The growth of Toledo's tourism industry means exciting things for retail businesses, too. An article by Robert Gibbs points out how important the shopping experience is for tourists. He estimates that 60% of American travelers shop while on vacation, and that over half of American adults travel specifically for the purpose of shopping! Not surprisingly, clothing and shoes were the most often purchased items, and tourists tended to focus on products of the highest quality with brand names that they know and trust.

This should not come as a surprise for anyone who has ever traveled for either business or pleasure. Traveling is about experiencing a unique new area, and tourists are more likely to make purchases and dine out than they are at home. In fact, shopping and dining become important parts of the trip's budget. On average, Americans set aside nearly a third of their travel budget for shopping, and those who spend more money tend to enjoy their trip more. Shopping becomes a pleasant social activity, and a way to relax from the constraints of regular life.

(Downtown Toledo Master Plan)

(Downtown Toledo Master Plan)

Tourists are particular shoppers, however, and this is where businesses and local governments should pay attention to sales trends. The atmosphere of the shopping area is vitally important to the experience. If a traveler can step out of the front door of their hotel or take a short drive to an area with plenty of shops, restaurants, and a safe and inviting atmosphere, they will spend more of their time and money there. Historical districts, in particular, are a favorite area for tourists to spend their time; they not only want to buy high-quality goods and eat the best foods, but they want an area that is both safe and visually appealing. Creating an all-around satisfying experience for shoppers will bring these travelers back time and again, and they will no doubt tell their friends about the wonderful experience!

As a commercial real estate developer in downtown Toledo, OhioCrane Development Ltd. is deeply invested in seeing this area expand into a vibrant tourist destination that will bring the city unlimited economic growth. Please feel free to engage with us by contacting us with any questions.