Tourism in Laclede County is increasing at a faster rate according to two reports the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society board heard Tuesday.
Lebanon tourism director Nicole McGinnis reported that lodging-tax dollars rose 5.45 percent in the 12 months ending June 30. That’s up from a 1.3-percent increase the previous 12 months.
And Cathy Dame, director of the Lebanon-Laclede County Library, reported that donations to the Lebanon Route 66 Museum, housed in the library, have been “very good” for three straight months, which she credited with the new signage promoting the museum on Interstate 44.
“Best summer we’ve had,” Dame said.
The Route 66 Society and the Bennett Spring State Park concessionaire Jim Rogers agreed to pay half the setup fee for the signs, which appear in both directions at I-44 Exit 129 (Highway 5). Directional arrows also appear at the top of the ramps.
The annual maintenance fee will be paid through the museum’s donation box.
In other tourism-related business, McGinnis reported that she will distribute the 2019 Laclede County Route 66 Guide and Map next week at the Missouri State Fair.
“Route 66 guides go like hotcakes at the state fair,” McGinnis said.
The Route 66 guides also will be available this week at the Route 66 Association of Missouri booth at the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival in Springfield. Route 66 Society board members have replenished supplies of the guides in recent weeks at the Waynesville, Rolla and Joplin welcome centers and will head to the St. Louis area with more guides in the coming weeks.
The city’s new tourism website, which includes a Route 66 section, had 4,870 visitors last month, McGinnis said.
McGinnis also is a board member of the Route 66 Society. Dame is a former president of the society and the current secretary.