The latest survey says the impact of tourism dollars on the state moved up to $6.4 billion in 2008. Iowa Tourism Office Manager, Nancy Landess, released the latest numbers at the annual tourism conference being held this year in Tama. Landess says they saw a 2.2% increase in the tourism impact in 2008 over 2007. She says that’s “very encouraging” because of the impact of the a harsh winter, high gas prices, the floods in 2008, and the economy in general.
Landess says things like “staycations” are more popular now. Landess says it’s a trend for people to stay closer to home and see attractions in their state. She says promotions such as the one with the Iowa Lottery are leading to good numbers so far this year for tourism and she expects the up trend to continue. Landess says promoting the attractions is key to getting people’s attention.
“Keeping Iowa top of mind is certainly very important, they don’t just wake up and think they are going to go somewhere in the state,” Landess says. She says people have to be aware of the places to go, so they are thinking about staying in the state when they take a trip. Landess says the state budget cuts will leave them with less money to promote attractions, and that’s one of the issue they’re discussing at the tourism conference.
She says forming partnerships to pool state resources with the industry resources will be important to keep promoting the state with the resources available. The tourism report says travel spending in the state created just over 300-million dollars in state tax revenue. It says 92 of Iowa’s 99 counties increased their tourism-generated expenditures. For more information about Iowa tourism, visit: www.traveliowa.com.