Last week the Illinois Office of Tourism came to town to announce record breaking tourism numbers across the State. The event was held Monday at the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts at McKendree University in Lebanon.
Cory Jobe, Director of the IOT, reported more than 109.4 Million Visitors came to Illinois last year – a 3.5% increase over the previous year. These visitors spent more than $36.3 Billion generating over $2.7 Billion in state and local taxes.
In Illinois South alone, over $1.14 Billion was generated – an increase of over 4.5% from the previous year. In our region, tourism is responsible for over 8,200 jobs according to the most recent data. All in all, our thriving industry saves the average Illinois household $1,300 in taxes through state, local and hotel/motel taxes generated. We’re incredibly proud of these numbers and extend our gratitude to everyone who makes this growth possible.
In addition to the 4th consecutive year of record-breaking numbers, the Office of Tourism unveiled two new initiatives. The first is a new travel magazine called “Enjoy” which will take the place of the state’s annual visitors guide. Enjoy will feature editorial content and information aimed at leisure travelers. The magazine’s production schedule, which will feature a Spring and Fall issue annually, will allow for more diverse coverage of attractions and events from all over the state.
Another new program, called “Illinois Made,” will feature videos, online and print content focusing on items produced in Illinois. The initiative was introduced with a high-quality film featuring a multi-generation family wood shop in Dow, IL. The craftsman in the video was working on what would wind up being a large, 3-D logo for the campaign that was revealed on stage following the video.
If you have any ideas of great Illinois-made products that have a great story behind them, click here to email them to us.
We, at Illinois South Tourism are excited about the phenomenal economic impact tourism created last year, and look forward to everything the State is working on to keep our industry growing. Thank you to every one who came out to the event last week, and to Hidden Lake Winery and Marcoot Dairy for donating products for our reception!