With summer just around the corner and 86 percent of Americans planning to take a vacation, the personal-finance website WalletHub has released its report on 2022’s Most Fun States in America, as well as accompanying videos and expert commentary.
To determine the states offering the greatest variety and most cost-effective options for enjoyment, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 26 key metrics. The data set ranges from movie costs to accessibility of national parks to casinos per capita.
Fun in California (1=Most Fun; 25=Avg.):
• 1st – Restaurants per Capita
• 1st – Movie Theaters per Capita
• 15th – Golf Courses & Country Clubs per Capita
• 1st – Amusement Parks per Capita
• 1st – Performing-Arts Theaters per Capita
• 1st – Fitness Centers per Capita
• 11th – Casinos per Capita
For the full report, visit: https://wallethub.com/edu/most-fun-states/34665
Are state-sponsored campaigns to promote tourism successful in bringing new visitors to a state?
“It is very difficult to identify cause and effect, here. States that spend relatively more on tourism promotion will usually already have considerable amenities and attractions that will naturally boost tourists and travel spending. For example, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, or Utah may spend a great deal to promote vacationing in their states. But these states also boast attractions, climates, landscapes, beach shorelines, and other natural and man-made amenities that would already be expected to make tourism a significant part of their state’s economic base. So, it is hard to measure the direct and isolated impact of state-level spending on tourist promotion. Such promotional spending likely has some minor positive impact on the level of out-of-state visitors and revenues, but only if the state’s economy already has these other attractions and amenities that would give it an advantage as a travel destination.”
Tom Lehman, Ph.D. – Professor, Indiana Wesleyan University
Should states provide tax incentives to attract professional sports teams and other entertainment draws?
“Whether states should provide tax incentives to wealthy owners of sports teams should be evaluated based on whether the new venue will ultimately bring in more public revenue. Incentives that are so large that they reduce net revenues are less justified than incentives that can benefit both private owners and the public.”
Steven G. Koven, Ph.D. – Professor, University of Louisville
“Most economists are skeptical of such incentives. Research by Andrew Zimbalist and others suggests that subsidizing new stadiums is a particularly bad investment. Jobs created by pro sports (other than the players, coaches, and a limited number of front office staff) often pay poorly. What typically happens is that entertainment dollars simply get shifted from other sources with a little net benefit to the state or local economy. There is some evidence that casino gambling and related attractions can increase tourism. This impact is diluted, however, as more and more jurisdictions legalize gambling. Similarly, the proliferation of more types of gambling (e.g. sports betting) can lead to a saturation point that limits further benefits.”
Keith Boeckelman – Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, Western Illinois University
With a significant percent of the population fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and thus being able to travel at low risk of COVID-19 infection, will states see an increase in visitors?
“In addition to fewer travel restrictions, we are also seeing significant declines in American travelers’ concerns about COVID-19. There is strong pent-up demand for post-pandemic travel … Recent research, however, indicates that American travelers’ concerns about COVID-19 are being replaced with heightened concerns about rising gas prices and inflation. The industry should expect travelers to be price-conscious because of rising prices. History tells us that people will cope with rising gas prices by choosing destinations that are closer to home and decreasing the number of trips they will take this summer. This means, in general, states should expect an increase in visitation from drive markets.”