Economic development officials say Iowa’s Welcome Centers are boosting tourism in the state. The director of the Iowa Tourism Office is Nancy Landess. She says there are 20 Welcome Centers in the state. Each center is staffed with certified tourism counselors.
Landess calls the counselors "helpful and influential." She says a survey indicates 30 percent of Iowa tourists have extended their stay in the state because of information they received at a Welcome Center.
The 2007 Iowa Welcome Center Survey Report claims tourists who stopped at a center last year spent $176 million in Iowa. "We had a total of 540,000 people that stopped at our Iowa Welcome Centers in 2007," Landess said. "We have them sign a guest book and every 46th person who signs the book is asked to complete a survey."
Landess says the survey provides information about what those travelers are doing in Iowa. Last year’s survey found most travel parties were in Iowa for general sightseeing, visiting family and friends, camping or shopping. More than half of those questioned indicated they stayed in a hotel or motel.