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Area tourism numbers grow in newly released report

The tourism industry grew significantly throughout Madison, Jersey, Calhoun and Macoupin counties in 2017 mirroring growth across the state of Illinois, according to early reports from the Illinois Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism.

greatriversandrouteslogoIn 2017, visitors to the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau region which includes Calhoun, Jersey, Madison and Macoupin Counties, spent $538.8 million, an increase of $30.3 million over 2016 or 6 percent. The region received local tax receipts of $15.79 million from visitor spending in 2017 compared to $14.98 million in 2016. That is a 5.4 percent increase.

The State of Illinois reported domestic and international traveler spending at $39.5 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion over the same period in 2016. In addition, the Illinois tourism industry created over 6,000 new jobs in 2017. The state saw an overall increase in traveler expenditures of 3.3 percent.

Job growth climbed slightly in the Great Rivers and Routes region. While job numbers remained stable in Calhoun and Macoupin Counties, Madison and Jersey Counties saw a slight uptick in new jobs. Overall job growth in the region increased 4 percent in 2017.

“These numbers are encouraging and show how vital tourism is to the local economy,” Brett Stawar, President and CEO of the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau said. “Our regional tourism industry is key to the continued economic growth of our region. The growth also shows the razor sharp focus of the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau!”

Facts about Illinois Tourism in 2017:
• Every $1 invested in Illinois tourism generates $9 in economic impact
• Illinois welcomed 111 million domestic visitors
o Of Illinois’ 111 million domestic visitors, 17% were for business and 83% for leisure
o In the past 10 years, domestic travel to Illinois has increased by 23 million visitors
• Domestic travelers spent nearly $36.3 billion in Illinois during 2017, a 3.3% increase over 2016

The Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau (formerly known as the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau) is the destination marketing organization serving northern Madison, Jersey, Calhoun and Macoupin counties.


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