Tourism industry brings money, jobs, and savings to Illinois in 2011
MARION, Ill — The state of Illinois is a record-breaking place when it comes to travel and tourism in 2011. The industry brought in an extra $2.5 billion compared to the previous year. That's an increase of almost 8.5 percent.
Jan Kostner, Illinois travel director, said the a surge in leisure travel fueled the increase.
"Illinois contains a unique combination of midwestern offerings that you can only find here."
The land of Lincoln uses a magazine, TV, the Internet and a radio marketing campaign to help drive national and international travelers to the state.
"When we're not advertising, our numbers go down," said Kostner. "So, we know that out of sight is definitely out of mind."
Tourism dollars also helped create over 4,000 jobs in the state. The extra tourists in Illinois are also putting extra money in the pockets of the people who live there.
"If we didn't have this, people coming here spending money, and we had no benefits from hotel tax, eating, dining, and shopping, a family of four would pay $1,100 more each year in taxes to make up for that," Kostner said.