State tourism officials are touting a new report that shows an increase in dollars spent in the state. Nancy Landess is the manager of the Iowa Tourism Office. She says there was a one-point-one percent increase in travel-related spending in 2002 for a total of four-point-three billion dollars. Landess says there was spending in all 99 counties. Landess says the study was commissioned by the state to gauge the amount of money pumped into the state’s tourism industry.She says it’s money spent for food, lodging, transportation,entertainment and retail purchases. Landess says it includes only people who travel 50 miles or more one way on a trip. Landess says 17-million people visited Iowa in 2002, and it looks like more are stopping in the state thus far in 2003.For the first two quarters of 2003 she says they’re up five-point-one percent compared to the first two quarters last year. She says the recent sluggish economy and the September 11th attacks have led to travel patterns that favor Iowa. She says people are very interested in regional travel and want to drive rather than fly. Landess says many people will be traveling in the state at this time of year to view the fall leaf colors.
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