Tourism Matters

We’ve got TOURISM… Right here, in River City!

Tourism in Mason City may seem like an anomaly to some and yet IT’S TRUE—Visitors from all around the globe travel to Mason City every day to visit our unique and award-winning attractions! In fact, visitor spending in Mason City during 2018 exceeded $136 million!

Wait… WHAT?  That’s right. The most recent report from the U.S. Travel Association for the State of Iowa shows visitors spending in the state totaled nearly $9 billion and $136.18 million of that spending occurred right here, in Mason City! Cerro Gordo county ranked #11 in the state for the amount of visitor spending compared to the other 98 counties in Iowa.

Compared to the other 98 counties in the State of Iowa, Cerro Gordo County ranks #11 for travel-related expenditures.

Sites such as the Historic Park Inn Hotel, Music Man Square, and the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum offer experiences that can only be found here in our community. What’s more, these attractions are of great interest to people from all over the world. Just last year, the Mason City Visitor Information Center welcomed more than 5,500 guests from all over the U.S. and 12 foreign countries.

The average visitor is active 14 hours a day. Visitors want to take it all in and make the most of every memorable moment. Even meeting, convention and sport event attendees who are occupied up to 8 or 9 hours a day, still have 5 to 6 hours to be active in the community they are visiting. Visit Mason City offers a variety of resources, such as the Mason City Travel Guide, that inform guests of the variety of things to do in Mason City to fill their time.

Did you know that TOURISM is the #1 industry for small business? When visitors come to town, they’re not only staying in hotels and visiting attractions. These guests to our community are also shopping in local stores, dining in local restaurants, and attending local events. Every dollar spent supports our local businesses, and generates Local Option Sales Tax ($0.01 collected on every dollar). Boy, do those pennies sure add up fast! Local tax receipts from visitor spending in 2017 totaled $1.74 million!  More information about the local impact of tourism can be found in Visit Mason City’s FY18-19 Annual Report (PDF).

Tourism promotes quality of life. In fact, for the first time in North American history, quality of life is leading economic development. Tourism is the front door to our community’s efforts to attract new business and new residents. Site selectors, real estate agents, investors, people looking for opportunities don’t just pick a spot on a map and move there. They come first to visit. Their experience as a visitor, and the quality-of-life amenities they find here will influence whether or not they choose to return, and stay.

Visit Mason City encourages you to become a tourist in your own backyard. Get out and experience the great attractions and events that attract visitors to town. Our calendar of events will help get you started.

We also invite you to connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. Stay up-to-date with fun events and happenings. Become a social media ambassador by sharing the things that make you proud of your community. Be sure to include the hashtag #MasonCityIA!

Learn more about the economic impact of tourism in the state of Iowa: 2018 SUMMARY REPORT (PDF) | 2018 FULL REPORT (PDF)

Interested in getting involved with Visit Mason City’s leadership? Click here to learn more about joining the Visit Mason City Board of Directors.

Established in May 1985, Visit Mason City (formerly the Mason City Convention and Visitor Bureau) is the official destination marketing organization for the City of Mason City. A non-profit 501(c)6 organization, the mission of the VMC is to enhance the economy of Mason City and the North Iowa area through the promotion of the area as a destination for overnight visitors. The primary source of funding for VMC is provided by the dedicated portion of the hotel-motel tax, as required by Iowa law.