JOPLIN, Mo. — Officials in southwest Missouri hope the results of a tourism study will help them attract more visitors to the Joplin area.

Design Workshop, of Aspen, Colorado, is conducting the tourism study for Joplin, The Joplin Globe reported .

Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau director Patrick Tuttle said the city has to find ways to encourage people to explore the city instead of just stopping for a night.

“That’s one of our tasks, I think, that will come out of this,” Tuttle said. “We have a large population that is hitting our hotel district and dine and buy gas that never see the rest of our community.”

An initial assessment of the city was released on Nov. 14. The consultant says the city may have trouble attracting tourists because many of the original sites along Route 66, a tourist draw that runs through the town, no longer exist. The 90-year-old highway carries 7,000 to 8,000 people through Joplin each year, the report said.

The initial assessment found that Joplin has about 2,000 hotel rooms. However, the town lacks large meeting spaces and can’t accommodate conventions. The Joplin Convention and Trade Center is outdated and in need of remodeling, the report said.

Restricted airline availability may also be contributing to the town’s tourism struggles, the consultant said. Joplin only has two daily flights to Dallas.

The full report is expected to be completed early next year.

Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe,

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