Visitors to the Green Mountain State spent more than $1.61 billion for goods and services in 2007, according to a recent study that measures the impact of visitor spending on the Vermont economy.The study, prepared by Economic and Policy Resources (EPR) of Williston, shows that visitors made an estimated 14.3 million trips to Vermont in 2007, an increase of 7 percent from 2005. Vermont s travel and tourism industry continues to experience steady growth, said Gov. Jim Douglas. Vermont has outstanding brand recognition and is fortunate to have more than 80 million people living within a day s drive.Visitor spending in Vermont supported approximately 37,490 jobs for Vermont workers and business owners. There are nearly 60,000 jobs in the Vermont hospitality sector, many of which are supported locally.Vermont s merchants get a greater proportion of revenues from visitor spending than nearly any other state, with retail, restaurant and other services being two or three times more dependent on visitor spending than the national average. In addition, visitor spending contributed $206.9 million in tax and fee revenues to state coffers in the General, Education and Transportation Funds. The hospitality industry is one of the main drivers of the Vermont economy, said Vermont Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Bruce Hyde. Many entry-level positions exist that often become high paying professional jobs for Vermonters. In fact, the Vermont tourism employee who is the primary wage earner in their household had total earnings income of $42,350 per year, an income 15 percent above the average income of $36,949 for all employed individuals in Vermont, Hyde said.The study also looks at many other aspects of the industry, including average visitor spending, visitor expenditures by category, seasonal occupancy rates for Vermont lodging properties and a comparison of lodging establishments by size.The state s methodology focuses on direct visitor spending, which is the standard used at the national level by organizations such as the U.S. Travel Association.The complete report is available online on the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing s industry website at www.VermontPartners.org(link is external).