During fiscal 2009/10, the state hosted 35.8 million domestic travelers, which represented more than 19 million households. Both number of travelers and expenditures were lower than the previous year due to the recession that began in 2008. Just over $6 billion was spent on travel-related expenditures, which was 3.5% lower than in fiscal 2008/09. Missouri’s tourism industry supported 281,255 jobs in fiscal 2010.
With hundreds of attractions and seven national landmarks and monuments, Missouri has much to offer vacationers. The most popular vacation areas are the St. Louis region (40% of all visits) and the Kansas City area (23%). The principal attraction in St. Louis is the Gateway Arch. At 630 feet (192 meters) it is the tallest humanmade national monument in the United States. In the Kansas City area are the Truman Sports Complex, Jesse James’s birthplace near Excelsior Springs, and Harry Truman’s hometown of Independence.
Branson is considered the “Live Music Show Capital of the World.” Memorabilia of Mark Twain are housed in and around Hannibal, while the birthplace and childhood home of George Washington Carver is in Diamond.
Missouri has 51 state parks and 35 historic sites. Lake of the Ozarks State Park is the largest, covering 16,872 acres (6,828 hectares). The 1,375 miles (2,213 kilometers) of shoreline and swimming, fishing, and boating opportunities ke Lake of the Ozarks a popular vacation spot in mid-America.
In 2009, Missouri’s 150 public libraries had nearly three million borrowers and a circulation of 51.5 million. TheMissouri State Library, in Jefferson City, is the center of the state’s interlibrary loan network. The University ofMissouri-Columbia has the leading academic library. The federally administered Harry S Truman Library and Museum is at Independence.
The Missouri Division of Tourism lists about 200 museums in the state. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and the St. Louis Art Museum both house distinguished general collections. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal has a collection of manuscripts and other memorabilia. The Harry S Truman Library and Museum is in Truman’s hometown of Independence. Also notable are the Pony Express National Museum, City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis Center Museum of Science and Natural History, and McDonnell Planetarium. The Steamboat Arabia Museum, located in Kansas City, displays the treasures recovered from a steamboat that sank in the Missouri River in 1856. Buried for more than 130 years, the Arabia contained well-preserved artifacts, including bottled foods, china, supplies, and the like.