The tourism industry grew significantly throughout Madison, Jersey, Calhoun and Macoupin counties in 2017, mirroring growth across the state of Illinois, according to reports from the Illinois Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism.
Visitors to the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau region, which includes those four counties, spent $538.8 million, an increase of $30.3 million over 2016, or 6 percent. The region received local tax receipts of $15.79 million from visitor spending in 2017 compared to $14.98 million in 2016. That is a 5.4 percent increase.
The state reported domestic and international traveler spending at $39.5 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion over 2016. In addition, the Illinois tourism industry created more than 6,000 new jobs in 2017. The state saw an overall increase in traveler expenditures of 3.3 percent.
Job growth climbed slightly in the Great Rivers and Routes region. While job numbers remained stable in Calhoun and Macoupin counties, Madison and Jersey counties saw a slight uptick in new jobs. Overall job growth in the region increased 4 percent in 2017.
“These numbers are encouraging and show how vital tourism is to the local economy,” Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau President and CEO Brett Stawar said. “Our regional tourism industry is key to the continued economic growth of our region. The growth also shows the razor-sharp focus of the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau.”
Facts about Illinois tourism in 2017:
• Every $1 invested in Illinois tourism generates $9 in economic impact
• Illinois welcomed 111 million domestic visitors
— Of Illinois’ 111 million domestic visitors, 17 percent were for business and 83 percent for leisure
— In the past 10 years, domestic travel to Illinois has increased by 23 million visitors
• Domestic travelers spent nearly $36.3 billion in Illinois during 2017, a 3.3 percent increase over 2016