Boise State has been a part of the Boise community for the past 82 years. Throughout those 82 years the university has affected the community in numerous ways, one of which is by bringing out-of-state visitors to Boise.
During the 2012-2013 school year, Admissions hosted over 11,200 prospective students and during 2013 the Blue Turf and Hall of Fame had an estimated 8,728 visitors.
When out-of-state visitors come to Boise State they begin to fill up the city’s hotel rooms and those hotel rooms bring in revenue. A mandated state tax of 2 percent is placed on all hotel lodgings and through those taxes, just during this fiscal year, the Treasure Valley has gained $3 million.
“I think people are looking for destinations like Boise where we’re safe, we’re friendly, it’s less expensive to travel to, we’re an urban city on the edge of the outdoors,” said Lisa Edens, senior sales manager at the Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau (BCVB).
According to Edens, tourism brought in over $60 million to the Boise economy during the year 2013. Boise State isn’t the only draw for tourists, but also the variety of cultural events, conventions, sporting events and reunions.
“The average attendee of a sporting event spends an average of $265 a day,” Edens said.
Greg Hahn, associate vice president for Boise State’s Communications and Marketing Department noted the Blue Turf is a big draw for not only prospective students, but visitors in general.
“One of the things people know about Idaho is Boise State and the Blue Turf,” Hahn said.
With Boise State drawing in so many visitors – whether they be attending a sporting event or are potential students, it leads to more people moving here
“I know a lot of people whose parents want to move here after their kids start going to Boise State,” Hahn said.
Through the addition of new residents the economy reaps benefits.
“What people don’t realize is that it provides jobs in restaurants, shops, event venues,” Edens said.
Though it can be difficult to calculate the exact effect of tourism on Boise; the only true measuring tool is how many hotel rooms are booked up.
“You don’t wear a sign that says, hey I’m a tourist in your city,” Edens said.
Part of Edens’ job is to promote the city of Boise on a national and international scale, and on occasion Boise State will play a part in this.
“In a lot of different ways Boise State is our partner,” Edens said.
The BCVB has worked with Boise State on bringing in large sporting events, such as NCAA events. During the summertime the dorms can be rented out as extra hotel rooms. Their office also worked with Boise State to put together the Idaho Potato Bowl.
“That is totally a tourism event that we helped create during a very slow time in our city,” Edens said.
For Diana Norton, tourism manager at Idaho Commerce, the biggest impact Boise State has on tourism is through the football games.
“I have seen firsthand how the atmosphere changes around the arena itself and it appears that the hotels are jamming during this time as well,” Norton said.
Boise has been growing in national recognition through appearing on multiple ‘Top Ten’ lists – including best city in the nation for men’s health, second best in the country for raising a family, and fourth best city for best downtown area.
“Boise really is exciting and we’re right on the cusp of exploding,” Edens said.