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Study finds $34 million annual economic impact from Barter Theatre

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A study has found that the Abingdon-based  Barter Theatre has an economic impact of $34 million on its local economy.

The report, completed last month, said the nonprofit theater supports 485 jobs. The Barter Theatre, which is observing its 80th season this year, has an annual operating budget of more than $6 million.

The impact study was prepared by Stephen Powell, CEO of Destination Services LLC; Berkeley Young, president of Young Strategies; and Steve Morse, director of the Hospitality & Tourism Program at the College of Business, Western Carolina University.

Barter Theatre attracts more than 160,000 patrons annually. According to the study, visitors to the theater spent $20.91 million in 2012 on accommodations, dining, shopping and other items in the area. The ripple effects of that spending resulted in a total economic impact of $34 million and generated over $3 million in tax revenue helping to keep local tax rates low for residents.

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