Visitor spending increased in Winnebago County

• Among the best in Illinois, 2010

From newsletter

Visitors to Winnebago County spent 9.6 percent more in 2010, adding almost $279 million to our local economy.

The increase was better than the State of Illinois’ and most of Rockford’s competing markets. Illinois saw an 8.4 percent increase, Cook 9.5 percent, DuPage 7.7 percent and Sangamon (Springfield) 3.2 percent.

The number of jobs directly supported by visitors also rose, with Winnebago County enjoying one of the biggest gains in the state, 2 percent. In 2010, visitors supported more than 2,590 jobs in our county’s hospitality industry.

The increase in visitor spending is good news for local municipalities. Local tax revenue from tourists in Winnebago County grew 5.7 percent for a total of $4.67 million.

“Congratulations to the leadership and staff at the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for their outstanding work in 2010. The numbers clearly reflect an increase in business and vacation travelers to our area,” said Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen. “From those visitors come the import of dollars into our community, which strengthens the viability of overall economic development in Winnebago County,” he added.

Boys Olympic Development Program returns to Rockford in 2012 & 2013; will generate $2.8 million for local economy

A partnership of the RACVB, area hotels, and Winnebago County resulted in the U.S. Youth Soccer Region II Boys Olympic Development Program committing to return to the Rockford Region in 2012 and 2013 after a two-year absence.

The Boys ODP Camp will bring 1,900 players and coaches from Region II (13 Midwest states), fill about 2,700 hotel room nights and pump $1.4 million per year into area businesses. The camps will be held over 16 days in July of 2012 and 2013 at Sportscore Two.

“The addition of new hotels and the central location of Rockford were important factors in the decision. Additionally, Sportscore Two has a great deal of flexibility with good quality outdoor fields and an indoor facility,” said Ellie Singer, administrator for U.S. Youth Soccer Region II Boys ODP. “Rockford could increase its chances of winning future bids if it had a facility with artificial turf and lighted fields,” she added. The group chose a new facility in Overland Park, Kansas, in 2010 and 2011.

BMX wins; Park District is finalist

• The 2011 American Bicycle Association’s (ABA) Midwest BMX National Competition held in Rockford was just named the winner of the 2011 Sports Travel Award by Sports Travel magazine. Congratulations!

• The Rockford Park District is one of four national finalists for the 2011 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and the National Recreation and Park Association. The winner will be announced in November.

Tourism is positive ROI, says Rep. Sacia

Illinois State Representative Jim Sacia (R, 39th District) assisted in hosting a delegation of State Representatives as they visited the Rockford area as part of a State of Illinois Tourism Economic Development Tour on July 28. With him was Representative Ken Dunkin, chair of the Tourism and Conventions Committee, as well as Representatives Lisa Dugan, Dave Winters, Dena Carli, and Charles Jefferson.

Welcome to Rockford! Wanna open a business?

Last year a Chicago dad brought his son to an ice hockey camp at Rockford’s Riverview Ice House. Dave Barr grew up in Rockford and had a summer job at the Rockford Park District’s ice arena. Now, as executive vice president of Lyons Consulting Group, an eCommerce design, development and support firm based in downtown Chicago, Dave was looking for an expansion site for his company.

He thought Rockford could be a good choice for their new location. It’s close to several colleges and universities so Lyons would have a steady stream of technical talent, within driving distance of the Chicago office and centrally located to provide support to their customers across U.S. time zones. Lyons established an office in Rockford this spring and has already hired 13 people for the Rockford office, including a Rock Valley College graduate.

Tourism means jobs… my job!

Name: Steve Litteral

Job: Director of Visitor Services, Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens

Years in Tourism: 4

What My Job Means to Me: I love this industry because I meet people from all over the world every day. Knowledge of local history is important in my job, and my degrees in history and military history have been very helpful. I’m writing a book about the Black Hawk War of 1832 that began in Stillman Valley. This job allows me to support my wife and two young children and pursue my interest in history.

From the Oct. 19-25, 2011, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!