The Iowa Tourism Office says the average traveler in the state last year spent $11 more per day than they did in 2006. Office director Nancy Landess says the figure comes from the latest Iowa Welcome Center Survey Report. She says travel party spending on lodging, entertainment, transportation, food and shopping increased 5.4 percent from $212.19 in 2006 to $223.66 in 2007.
Nearly 540,000 people stopped at one of Iowa’s 20 Welcome Centers last year. Landess says every 46th person that signed a guest book at a center was asked to fill out a survey about their activities in Iowa. Landess says sightseeing (61%) was the most common response, followed by visiting historical areas (46%), seeing friends and family (41%), camping (21%) and shopping (17%).
Landess says she’d like to see more people using Iowa’s campgrounds and state parks. "We have wonderful trails and some great campgrounds," Landess said. "We’d like people to get to the Loess Hills in western Iowa or take a scenic driver on The Great River Road." This year marks the 70th anniversary for the Great River Road, which follows the 326 mile path of the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa.
The 2007 survey also shows the average travel party included 2.5 people that spent 3.8 days in Iowa. Sixty percent were traveling with family members, 46 percent were taking a vacation and 53 percent stayed in a hotel or motel. The complete report can be viewed on-line at www.traveliowa.com .