Winnebago County tourism spending up 9.6 percent, exceeding statewide growth rate
Online Staff Report
According to new figures released by the State of Illinois, visitor spending in Winnebago County increased 9.6 percent in 2010, totaling nearly $279 million.
The rate of growth in Winnebago County exceeded that of the state and most of Rockford’s comparative markets.
Visitor spending in Winnebago County went up 9.6 percent, while the state saw an 8.4 percent increase, and most of Rockford’s comparable markets saw an increase of less than 5 percent. Peoria saw visitor spending go up just 3.7 percent, while Springfield, in Sangamon County, saw only a 3.2 percent increase.
When it comes to the number of jobs directly supported by visitors, Winnebago County saw one of the biggest gains. Tourism supported more than 2,540 jobs in 2010, up 2 percent over 2009. Only seven of Illinois’ 102 counties saw bigger gains, the largest being Jo Daviess (Galena) and Clark counties, which both saw a 3 percent increase. The state remained relatively flat overall with just a 0.4 percent decrease.
Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (RACVB) President/CEO John Groh said: “RACVB’s role is to import cash in to our region. So, it is good news to find out that in 2010 visitors spent nearly 10 percent more than they did the year before. And, to see growth in the number of jobs and tax revenue is also great news for our economy. Growth like this verifies that we are seeing a rebound in the Rockford region’s visitor industry. That this growth occurred at a faster rate than much of the state is also encouraging.”
The growth in spending benefits local municipalities. Local tax revenue resulting from visitor spending in Winnebago County grew 5.7 percent, totaling $4.42 million in 2010. This increase was greater than most of the region’s comparative set, many of whom saw a decrease in tax revenue. It is also greater than the state average of 4.6 percent.
The figures come from a report by D.K. Shifflet and Associates for the U.S. Travel Association, commissioned by the Illinois Office of Tourism, a state agency.
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