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Tourism revenues climb for Meeting of the Great Rivers area

ALTON — The tourism industry continued to grow at a steady pace last year throughout Madison, Jersey and Calhoun counties, matching growth across the State of Illinois, according to early reports from the Illinois Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism.

In 2015, visitors to what is called Meeting of the Great Rivers, which includes the three counties, spent $456.29 million, an increase of $11 million over 2014. The region received local tax receipts of $12.18 million from visitor spending in 2015 compared to $11.71 million in 2014.

The State of Illinois reported traveler spending at $37 billion, an increase of 2.6 percent over the same period in 2014. In addition, the Illinois tourism industry created over 10,000 new jobs in 2015, an increase of 3.5 percent.

Job growth climbed slightly in the Meeting of the Great Rivers region. While job numbers remained stable in Calhoun and Jersey Counties, Madison County saw an uptick in new jobs from 2.9 thousand to 3.08 thousand jobs.

“These numbers are very encouraging and show how very important tourism is to the local economy,” Brett Stawar, president and CEO of the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau said. “Our regional tourism industry is vital to the continued economic growth of our region.”

The economic impact numbers, provided by the U.S. Travel Association, are preliminary numbers only. Final visitor statistics will be available later this year.

The Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau is the destination marketing organization serving northern Madison, Jersey and Calhoun counties.

— From the Illinois Business Journal

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