The Illinois Bureau of Tourism just released statistics on the economic impact experienced by the tourism industry in 2011. Visitors to the four northwest Illinois counties that make up the Blackhawk Waterways Convention & Visitors Bureau generated $145.93 million in local economic impact which is a 9.45% increase over the previous year. Local tax revenues generated by visitor spending were up as well coming in at $3.26 million across the 4 county region.
Diane Bausman, Executive Director of the Blackhawk Waterways CVB said that the statistics reinforce what she has said all along - the Blackhawk Waterways region is a great travel destination for those looking for a fun & relaxing getaway.
The economic impact of tourism from each of the individual counties in the Blackhawk Waterways region of Northwest Illinois are as follows: Carroll: $19.46 million - a 5.5% increase over 2010; Lee: $28.48 million – a 4.51% increase; Ogle: $62.99 million – a 12.2% increase and Whiteside: $35 million – an 11.21% increase. All statistics were provided in the 2011 Economic Impact of Tourism Report distributed by the Illinois Office of Tourism. The Illinois tourism industry as a whole generated a record $31.8 billion in 2011, up 8.4 percent from a year ago. The increase of nearly $2.5 billion was fueled by a surge in leisure travel. The robust results mark the industry’s return to pre-recession levels and emphasize the influential role tourism plays in fueling Illinois’ economic growth, creating jobs, and providing additional tax revenue to the state.
The number of visitors in Illinois also set a record. The state’s tourism industry hosted more than 93.3 million visitors in 2011, an increase of 10.2 percent from 2010 and surpassing the previous high of 91 million visitors in 2006. The visitor increases outpaced the national average gain of 6.7 percent, according to D.K. Shifflet & Associates.