The Iowa Tourism Office has released new data showing continued growth in the state’s tourism industry. Over the past five years, travel-generated expenditures have increased by an average of 5.94 percent, beating the five year national average of 5.78 percent. According to the study, “The Economic Impact of Travel on Iowa Counties,” travelers spent $8.06 billion in Iowa and generated $374 million in state tax revenues in 2014, both all-time highs.
“Iowa is a very welcoming and friendly state,” said Governor Terry Branstad. “We are proud to welcome visitors to our many attractions. Iowa is a very cost effective place to visit and we have many wonderful restaurants, shops and places to see and stay. I’m proud that tourism is a growth industry in our state.”
Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds added, “Every county saw an increase in travel-related expenditures between 2013 and 2014. And 15 counties had expenditures topping $100 million. As the Governor and I travel all 99 counties annually, we see firsthand how tourism impacts communities. From mom and pop restaurants to historic hotels and bicycle trails to world-class museums, tourism is big business in Iowa”
The report also revealed that more than 66,500 Iowans owe their employment to the tourism industry, a 1.6 percent increase from 2013. Without jobs generated by domestic travel, Iowa’s 2014 unemployment rate of 4.4 percent would have been 8.3 percent. The entire report is available online in .pdf format and includes state- and county-specific data.
“Based on preliminary numbers we’re seeing for this year, we have every reason to believe our growth will continue,” said Shawna Lode, manager of the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Iowa Tourism Office. “In 2015 we expect about 1.5 million people to visit our website, traveliowa.com, an increase of approximately 40 percent from 2014.”
The Iowa Tourism Office is part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. For more information about Iowa tourism, visit www.traveliowa.com, call 800.345.IOWA or stop at any Iowa Welcome Center. Travelers can find additional Iowa travel inspiration on the Iowa Tourism Office blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, Pinterest boards, Google+ page, Instagram, or YouTube channel.