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Iowa Celebrates $8 Billion Tourism Industry During National Travel and Tourism Week

For more information contact:

Shawna Lode, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Iowa Tourism Office
Iowa celebrates $8 billion tourism industry during National Travel and Tourism Week
Tourism creates jobs, grows the economy and minimizes Iowans’ tax burden
May 2, 2016 (Des Moines) — May 1-7 marks the 33rd annual National Travel and Tourism Week, which celebrates what travel means to American jobs, economic growth and personal well-being.
“It’s important for Iowans to understand that tourism is vital in our state,” said Shawna Lode, manager of the Iowa Economic Development’s Iowa Tourism Office. “From families enjoying a weekend at a state or county park, to out-of-state travelers returning for a class or family reunion, to a sports team traveling en masse to a tournament, travel takes on many forms and makes a huge impact in Iowa. In 2014, travel in Iowa generated $8.06 billion in expenditures and nearly $375 million in state tax receipts while supporting 66,500 jobs.”
The dollars spent on travel in Iowa not only contribute to the state’s economic health but are an important part of travel’s economic impact nationwide. For example:

  • Travel is a $2.1 trillion industry in the U.S., with $927.9 billion in direct travel-related spending in the U.S. by domestic and international visitors in 2014.
  • These visitors support 15 million American jobs—roughly eight million direct travel jobs and seven million indirect and induced jobs.
  • Travel-related spending generated $141.5 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues in 2014.

“Travel-generated expenditures in Iowa have increased by an average of 5.94 percent over the last five years, better than the five-year national average,” said Lode. “In 2015, visits to topped one million for the first time, representing a 37 percent increase over the previous year and a good sign people are exploring Iowa as a vacation destination.”
2015 data from the Iowa Tourism Office showed additional increases over 2014:

  • Fans of the Iowa Tourism Office on Facebook grew 32 percent.
  • Requests for the Iowa Travel Guide increased 19 percent.
  • Twitter followers grew 18 percent.
  • Welcome Centers served 4 percent more visitors.

In addition to its benefits for the local economy, travel can also have a positive effect on personal well-being for residents and visitors. Numerous research studies have confirmed the positive health effects of travel and time off, from reducing the risk of heart disease to decreasing depression. Families using time off to travel is good for everyone, especially children—kids who travel with their families are more likely to attend college and earn more as adults. 
The Iowa Tourism Office is part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. For more information about Iowa tourism, visit, call 800.345.IOWA or stop at any Iowa Welcome Center. Travelers can find additional Iowa travel inspiration on the Iowa Tourism Office blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, Pinterest boards, Instagram or YouTube channel.



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Iowa Economic Development Authority
200 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Phone: 1.515.348.6200
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