The Illinois Bureau of Tourism released statistics on the economic impact generated by the tourism industry in 2012.
Visitors to the four northwest Illinois counties that make up the Blackhawk Waterways Convention & Visitors Bureau generated $151 million in overall economic impact which is a 13.9 percent increase over the previous year. Local tax revenues generated by visitor spending were up as well coming in at $3.43 million across the four-county region.
The economic impact of tourism from each of the individual counties in the Blackhawk Waterways region of Northwest Illinois are as follows:
Carroll: $20.02 million—a 2.9 percent increase over 2011; Lee: $29.90 million—a 5 percent increase; Ogle: $65.30 million—a 3.7 percent increase and Whiteside: $35.82 million—a 2.3 percent increase.
All statistics provided in the 2012 Economic Impact of Tourism Report distributed by the Illinois Office of Tourism.
Diane Bausman of Mount Carroll, executive director of the Blackhawk Waterways CVB, said, “I knew the numbers were going to be up from the feedback I was receiving from the community and county tourism groups I work with. These statistics reinforce what I’ve said all along — the Blackhawk Waterways region is a great travel destination for those looking for a fun and relaxing getaway. I’m confident that for the rest of 2013 travel to our four-county region will increase and the travel related tax revenues generated will contribute to positive economic growth in our area.”
State officials say tourism generated more than $31 billion for the Illinois economy in 2012. That’s about five percent more than in 2011 and overall tourism spending generated $2.3 billion in state and local tax revenues in 2012.
This increase was fueled by the continued surge in leisure travel. The robust results emphasize the influential role tourism plays in fueling Illinois’ economic growth, creating jobs, and providing additional tax revenue to the state.