Attractions such as the Iowa Great Lakes in northwest Iowa, Adventureland Park in Altoona and the Amana Colonies in eastern Iowa drew a lot of visitors last year.
Jessica O’Riley, with the Iowa Tourism Office, says a new report shows traveler spending in Iowa in 2011 equaled $7.2 billion. That’s a 10.3% increase from 2010.
In addition to spending money on transportation, hotels, food and retail goods, travelers support thousands of jobs in Iowa.
“The travel industry in Iowa supports 63,400 jobs, representing $1.1 billion in total payroll,” O’Riley said. “That’s an increase of 2.2-percent from 2010.”
The Iowa figures are based on a report from the U.S. Travel Association based in Washington, D.C. The report claims travel in Iowa last year generated $372.6 million in federal tax revenue, $328.8 million in state tax revenue and $101.4 million in local tax revenue. “That state tax revenue generated is enough to pay the salaries of every firefighter, police officer and sheriff in the entire state,” O’Riley said.
The report also breaks down tourist spending in Iowa by county. Iowa’s five highest tourism expenditure counties were Polk, Linn, Scott, Johnson and Black Hawk.