News release comes out on Route 66 Economic Impact report

On Wednesday, a news release about the Route 66 Economic Impact Report was distributed by partners American Express Foundation, the World Monuments Fund, Rutgers University, and the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.

Forbes, the Los Angeles Times, and Business Insider are among the news outlets that have picked up the release and published stories. A 59-page summary of the Route 66 Economic Impact Report can be read here.

More stories about this undoubtedly will be published in the coming days. Route 66 will get a nice jolt of publicity, and that’s a good thing.

The news release does a good job summarizing the high points of the 400-page document:

  • More than 85% of Route 66 travelers visit historic places and museums, and these tourists spend $38 million dollars a year in these communities.
  • Heritage preservation, through Main Street revitalization programs and museums, add another $94 million in annual investments.
  • The national impact is an annual gain of 2,400 jobs, $90 million in income, $262 million in overall output, $127 million in gross domestic product and $37 million in tax revenues.
  • At the local level, the restored Route 66-themed motel, restaurant, and gift shop anchor the downtown in many small communities and bring new life and revenue to towns once bypassed by the Interstate Highway System.

In other words, preserving Route 66 is a good investment with significant community and economic benefits.

And down in the press release is this important nugget:

The organizations behind the study are currently working to raise awareness of the significant findings among both the private and public sectors. A follow-up event, including industry, government, and others, is being planned for 2012, with a goal of leveraging the new knowledge provided by the Economic Impact Study toward improved investment and innovative partnerships in heritage tourism and historic preservation.

If this follow-up event comes together as anticipated, it sounds like more good news for Route 66. And maybe this will add some juice to the proposed Route 66 National Historic Trail, an idea whose time has come.

The Route 66 Economic Impact Report had been available on the Internet since late December, and Route 66 News posted its own story about it on Jan. 11.

Ben Haley, communications manager at the World Monuments Fund, explained in an email about the delay over getting the news release out about the economic impact report:

The release had to go through several levels of approval, so was only finalized recently, hence the delay between when the study was posted and when it was announced.

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