Iowa yearly tourism tops $8 billion again

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Gazette Des Moines Bureau

DES MOINES — For a second consecutive year, tourism expenditures in Iowa topped $8 billion, state officials said Tuesday.

Travel-related spending by visitors to Iowa totaled $8.06 billion in 2015, according to a new study from the U.S. Travel Association.

Shawna Lode, manager of the Iowa Tourism Office, said additional data from “The Economic Impact of Travel on Iowa Counties” shows travel-generated state tax receipts at a record $466.7 million, a 25 percent increase over 2014. Tourism in Iowa also supported 67,400 jobs, making up 4.2 percent of total state non-farm employment in 2015.

“Lower gas prices in 2015 helped draw in more travelers who significantly increased their spending on lodging, restaurants, shopping and entertainment,” Lode said in a statement.

“We also saw user sessions on traveliowa.com set a record at almost 1.3 million. Requests for our travel guide were up almost 20 percent. Both of those are good indicators of people making plans to travel Iowa,” added Lode, whose office is part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

The report, which includes state- and county-specific data, is available at www.traveliowa.com.

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