A new report shows travelers spent less money in Iowa last year compared to 2008. Iowa Department of Economic Development spokesperson Jessica O’Riley says visitor expenditures dropped 5.5%. “In 2008, we generated 6.4 billion dollars and in 2009, 6.1 billion,” O’Riley said. “I think we’re finally seeing the effects of the recession.”
Domestic travel declined despite lower gas prices in 2009 and record flooding in 2008 which disrupted vacation plans. O’Riley say it appears people still took vacations in 2009, but chose cheaper options – such as staying with friends or relatives instead of at a hotel.
“We also know that state park attendance was up, so that’s also a less expensive option for a vacation,” O’Riley said.
The 5.5% decline in travel spending mirrored a national trend. “The national average for domestic travel was down 7.9%. We’re not down as much as the national average, so that’s a good sign,” O’Riley said. The annual study was conducted by the U.S. Travel Association.
It shows Polk County, which includes the city of Des Moines, generated close to 1.4 billion dollars in domestic travel expenditures to lead all Iowa counties. The report claims domestic traveler expenditures supported 63,100 jobs within Iowa in 2009, representing 4.3 percent of the state’s non-agricultural employment.See the full report here: www.traveliowa.com/downloads/countyimpact09.pdf