The Iowa Tourism Office has designated May as tourism month in the state. Division director Nancy Landess says tourism is a four-point-three billion dollar industry in Iowa. She says the information on 2003 shows that 20-point-two million people traveled 50 miles or more away from their home, one way to enjoy attractions and events in the state. Landess says the number of people traveling in the state has increased since 9-11. She says this year is pretty consistent with 2002 and she says they hope to see another good year in 2004. Landess says this week is “National Tourism Week” and they have a special state promotion going. They’re partnering with the Iowa State Fair with a drawing for two tickets to the state fair at all 21 of our welcome centers. Landess says they’re doing other promotions for the month. She says they still find a trend of people wanting to drive and not fly. She says they have coupons on their website, travelIowa.com for various events. The price of gas has hit records and could go higher this summer, but Landess says that shouldn’t have a major impact on tourism. She says they will certainly have an impact on long-term travel, but she says with he trend of staying closer to home, people can still do a lot on a tankful of gas. Landess says 62-thousand people are employed in the tourism industry in Iowa.
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