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Hannibal tourism season off to slow start

After failing to meet expectations in the number of visitors to Hannibal for the Twain on Main festival, there are questions on how well the rest of the tourism season will go.

Downtown Hannibal Business owners, like Java Jive’s Katy Welch, say it’s a guessing game when it comes to festivals.

"The weather kinda determines how long they choose to stay out in the weather and visit the festival," she said. " A lot of people I spoke to said they came down, checked it out, but unfortunately couldn’t stay as long as they had hoped just because it was so hot."

Officials with the Twain on Main festival say that heat is why this year’s numbers were down. They expected 15,000 people to come to town but only 10,000  showed up.

Megan Rapp with the Hannibal Convention and Visitor’s Bureau says factors like weather make it hard to prepare for festivals.

 "One year you’re selling out of coffee because it’s so cold and the next you’re selling out of cider because it’s 90 degrees so that’s the fun part of being in Missouri," she said.

Tourism officials say they expect numbers to rebound because the industry doesn’t rely solely on the festivals that take place downtown.

 "Our job is to really keep Hannibal as top of mind awareness for all of our attractions and all the great things there are to see and do here in Hannibal no matter what weekend you come and the festivals are really the icing on top of the cake," said Rapp.

Welch believes the success of the tourism season will be determined by other festivals.

"I think as the year continues to go on, we will see with all of these upcoming festivals, new festivals and old festivals happening again, that the numbers will continue to grow."

High gas prices are another factor that affect the number of visitors, but Welch says that could pull in more regional tourists who are cutting back on their length of trip and in turn spend money in Hannibal.
 

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