The Iowa Tourism Office is launching a nearly $1.3 million advertising campaign aimed at Midwest travelers. Kathy Bowermaster helped organize the ad blitz which promotes destinations like the Loess Hills, Okoboji and the Amana Colonies. Around 75 tourist spots are mentioned in the ads.

Bowermaster says every area of the state is represented. Around $550,000 is being spent on print ads in magazines and newspapers. The 75 communities and tourist stops contribute roughly $200,000 toward the campaign. “This really allows us to, first of all, help them extend their spending into markets that they maybe couldn’t afford on their own and it also makes our budget go a lot farther,” Bowermaster said.

Another $750,000 is being spent on a six-week long television advertising campaign in Chicago and Minneapolis. Those ads will focus on the top tourist spots in seven Iowa cities. “We’ve identified that Minnesota and Illinois are our top two out-of-state markets,” Bowermaster said.

“We have some special funding we receive from the gaming industry to do that regional advertising.” State officials claim tourism is a $6.4 billion industry in Iowa that employs 65,000 people and generates more than $303 million in state taxes.