Columbia’s economy supported by tourism when students leave


Many students left Columbia for the summer, leaving the streets a bit emptier than this time last week.

The restaurants and shops also look a bit emptier, as several students headed home for the summer after graduation last week. And while that’s impacting Columbia’s economy, experts tell me, the city has other ways to fill the void.

“The economy is actually very well supported by tourism, so people who take their summer holidays go to events or conventions in the summer, and then we also have a number of sports tournaments that help the economy,” said Megan McConachie of the Columbia Convention and Visitors. Office said.

In a few weeks, Art in the Park will return for the first time since before the pandemic. In July, Columbia hosts the Show-Me State Games followed by other sporting events and festivals such as Summerfest.

“We have a lot of different types of visitors, all those people who sleep in our hotels, dine in our restaurants and shop in our stores,” McConachie said.

McConachie said last year, in June and July, hotel occupancy was around 60%. She hopes this year will have similar results this year or even see an increase.

One company, Bud’s Barbecue, told me they were confident their business wouldn’t be too badly affected.

“Summer is a great time to barbecue, we’ve had a lot of catering and a number of people have been calling asking how we can serve them,” said Jason Paetzold, owner of Bud’s.

Alpine Shop said it noticed a change.

“This year we lost, I think six to seven seniors who graduated mixed in with other people who left and just went home,” said Nolan Moriearty, Alpine’s deputy manager. Shop.

But Moriearty said they were ready, rebounded quickly and were able to hire quickly, as happens every summer.

“It’s definitely a different atmosphere, it’s been a bit slower, but yeah, we still have a lot of our local customers and people who live here year-round,” Moriearty said.

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