how many tourists visit st louis each year

Have you ever wondered how many tourists flock to the vibrant city of St. Louis annually? The answer might surprise you. St. Louis, known for its iconic Gateway Arch and rich cultural heritage, attracts an estimated 25 million travelers from around the world every year. Whether it’s exploring world-class attractions, indulging in delicious cuisine, or immersing oneself in the city’s history, St. Louis has something to offer for everyone. But what drives this massive influx of visitors to this Midwest gem? Let’s delve into the destination’s allure, annual visitation numbers, and the economic impact of its booming tourism industry.

The Importance of Tourism to the Regional Economy

Tourism Importance Image

Tourism plays a vital role in the regional economy of St. Louis, contributing to its growth and sustainability. As one of the top 10 industries, it generates billions of dollars in economic activity each year, making it a significant driver of prosperity in the city. The tourism industry also plays a pivotal role in job creation, employing over 85,000 residents and providing a wide range of employment opportunities.

One of the key benefits of tourism is its ability to create jobs for individuals with varying levels of education and experience. From hotel staff and tour guides to restaurant workers and event managers, the industry offers employment opportunities that contribute to the overall wellbeing of the community. By providing fulfilling and stable livelihoods, tourism enhances the quality of life for St. Louis residents.

Moreover, tourism stimulates economic growth by attracting visitors to the region. As tourists explore the city’s attractions, they contribute to the success of local businesses, including hotels, restaurants, and retail establishments. This influx of visitors stimulates consumer spending, leading to a multiplier effect that benefits the entire community.

By bolstering the local economy, tourism also has a positive impact on infrastructure development and investment in world-class attractions and entertainment options. The revenue generated from tourism supports the maintenance and enhancement of iconic landmarks such as the Gateway Arch National Park, which attracts visitors from all over the world.

Apart from its economic significance, tourism also boosts community morale and cultural vibrancy. The diverse mix of visitors and the exposure to different cultures and perspectives injects vitality into the community, fostering a sense of pride and uniqueness.

In summary, tourism is of utmost importance to the regional economy of St. Louis. It drives economic growth, creates job opportunities, and contributes to the overall vitality of the community. By embracing and promoting tourism, St. Louis can continue to thrive as a premier destination, attracting visitors from near and far.

Benefits of Tourism to the Regional Economy
Generates billions of dollars in economic activity annually
Employment opportunities for over 85,000 residents
Stimulates local businesses and retail establishments
Supports infrastructure development and maintenance
Enhances cultural vibrancy and community morale

The Growth of Tourism in St. Louis

The tourism industry in St. Louis has been experiencing steady growth in recent years. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, there has been a significant rebound in visitation, demonstrating the resilience of the city’s tourism sector. One notable example is the Gateway Arch National Park, which reported a remarkable 41% increase in visitation from 2021 to 2022.

This surge in tourism can be attributed to multiple factors. As the world gradually recovers from the pandemic, people are eager to explore new destinations and experience different cultures. St. Louis, with its rich history, vibrant arts scene, and world-class attractions, has become a popular choice for travelers seeking unique experiences.

Furthermore, the Gateway Arch National Park has seen exceptional growth in the early months of 2023, with record-breaking tram ridership in January. This resurgence in visitation is a testament to the enduring appeal of the park and its role as a symbol of St. Louis’ identity and heritage.

Local officials and industry stakeholders anticipate further growth in visitation as conferences and business travel gradually resume post-pandemic. St. Louis, being a regional hub, is well-positioned to attract business travelers and leverage its world-class amenities to enhance the visitor experience.

The increasing visitation numbers and the resilience of St. Louis’ tourism industry indicate a promising future for the city’s economy, as well as the continued growth and development of its attractions and cultural offerings.

Impact of Tourism on St. Louis Attractions and Events

world-class attractions

Tourism in St. Louis plays a crucial role in the development and maintenance of world-class attractions, offering visitors and residents alike a wide array of entertainment options and dining establishments. The support from tourism tax revenues not only enhances the city’s ability to create and sustain these attractions, but also contributes to the high quality of life enjoyed by residents and their access to enriching cultural experiences.

In addition to fueling the growth of St. Louis’ world-class attractions, tourism has a significant impact on the success of community events and festivals. Organizations like the Gateway Arch Park Foundation have seen a surge in attendance at their events, bringing economic benefits to the surrounding area and fostering a sense of community engagement. The popularity of these events underscores the positive effect that tourism has on the local community.

By attracting visitors from near and far, tourism helps create a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere in St. Louis. Whether it’s attending concerts, exploring museums, or experiencing local festivals, tourists contribute to the energetic spirit of the city. The increased attendance at these events not only adds to the overall cultural richness of St. Louis, but also stimulates the local economy and supports the growth and sustainability of the community.

Expected Increase in Visitation and Economic Impact

rebounding conferences, business travel, increased tourism numbers

As conferences and business travel rebound from the effects of the pandemic, St. Louis anticipates a significant rise in visitation and a boost to its economic impact. The city’s position as a regional hub, combined with its world-class amenities, makes it an appealing destination for both business and leisure travelers.

To further enhance the visitor experience, efforts are underway to improve the visibility of parking areas and launch regional advertising campaigns that highlight the city’s rich museum offerings. These initiatives aim to draw attention to St. Louis as a premier destination for cultural exploration and educational experiences.

  1. Rebounding Conferences: The resumption of conferences and events will attract professionals from various industries to St. Louis, fostering networking opportunities and knowledge exchange. This influx of attendees will undoubtedly contribute to the city’s economy through increased hotel bookings, dining, and shopping activities.
  2. Business Travel: As businesses resume normal operations, professionals will resume their travel activities, attending meetings, conferences, and industry gatherings. St. Louis, with its excellent convention facilities and business-friendly environment, stands poised to benefit from this returning wave of corporate travelers.
  3. Increased Tourism Numbers: With the post-pandemic relaxation of travel restrictions, individuals and families are eager to explore new destinations. St. Louis, with its diverse attractions, historical landmarks, and vibrant culture, is emerging as a popular choice. The anticipated growth in tourism numbers will provide a significant economic boost to the local hospitality industry, including hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

The projected rise in attendance and visitor spending will not only support local businesses but also create job opportunities in the hospitality sector, aiding the community’s recovery from the pandemic’s economic impact.

Regional Advertising Campaigns

St. Louis tourism authorities are implementing regional advertising campaigns to showcase the city’s multitude of attractions and experiences to potential visitors. These campaigns aim to highlight St. Louis as a must-visit destination, capitalizing on the rebounding interest in travel to generate increased visitation and support local businesses.

Gateway Arch National Park Visitation Numbers

The Gateway Arch National Park has seen a remarkable increase in visitation figures, reflecting its growing popularity among both locals and tourists. Between 2021 and 2022, the park experienced a growth in attendance of nearly 475,000 visitors, bringing the total number of visitors to over 1.6 million.

The Gateway Arch National Park stands out as one of the most visited attractions in the region, drawing crowds with its iconic symbol and captivating historical significance. Its status as a must-see destination has contributed to the surge in visitation numbers, and its popularity continues to soar.

The success of the park goes beyond admission numbers, as the Gateway Arch Park Foundation, the park’s philanthropic partner, has witnessed increased attendance at its events. Festivals and fundraisers organized by the foundation have seen record-breaking attendance, highlighting the park’s appeal and the community’s engagement.

The park’s recent updates and renovations have played a crucial role in attracting more visitors. The enhancements have not only improved the overall visitor experience but have also sparked a renewed interest from both residents and tourists alike.

Gateway Arch National Park Visitations Overview

Year Visitors
2020 1,125,000
2021 1,150,000
2022 1,625,000

Gateway Arch National Park and its Role in St. Louis

Gateway Arch National Park holds immense historical significance as it commemorates the vision of Thomas Jefferson and St. Louis’ role as the gateway to the American West during the 19th century. The park showcases the iconic Gateway Arch, which stands tall as a symbol of American progress and exploration. Additionally, the park encompasses the Arch grounds and the historic Old Courthouse—a site that played a pivotal role in the landmark Dred Scott case.

Visitors to the park can delve into the rich history and heritage of St. Louis at the Museum at the Gateway Arch, where admission is free. The museum offers a range of exhibits, programs, and events that aim to educate and engage the public. From interactive displays to in-depth historical narratives, the museum provides an immersive experience for all visitors.

As a community partner, the Gateway Arch Park Foundation, in collaboration with other organizations, is committed to the long-term conservation, preservation, and accessibility of the park. By working together, they ensure that future generations can continue to appreciate and learn from the historical significance of the Gateway Arch National Park. The park’s presence is a testament to St. Louis’ vibrant and evolving identity, offering locals and tourists alike a space to connect with history and take pride in their city.


Q: How many tourists visit St. Louis each year?

A: St. Louis welcomes an estimated 25 million travelers each year from around the world.

Q: What is the importance of tourism to the regional economy?

A: Tourism is one of the top 10 industries in St. Louis, generating approximately billion in economic activity annually and employing over 85,000 people.

Q: How has tourism in St. Louis been growing?

A: In recent years, there has been a substantial increase in tourist visitation to St. Louis, with the Gateway Arch National Park reporting a 41% jump in visitation from 2021 to 2022.

Q: How does tourism impact St. Louis attractions and events?

A: Tourism contributes significantly to the development and maintenance of world-class attractions in St. Louis and boosts attendance at community events and festivals.

Q: What is the expected increase in visitation and economic impact for St. Louis?

A: As conferences and business travel rebound from the effects of the pandemic, St. Louis expects to see a further increase in visitation and economic impact.

Q: What are the visitation numbers for Gateway Arch National Park?

A: From 2021 to 2022, visitation to Gateway Arch National Park increased by nearly 475,000 visitors, surpassing 1.6 million visitors in total.

Q: What is the role of Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis?

A: Gateway Arch National Park commemorates the vision of Thomas Jefferson and the role of St. Louis as the gateway to the American West during the 19th century. The park preserves iconic landmarks and offers various programs and events to educate and engage the public.