The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic
Opportunity, Office of Tourism is celebrating a 4th consecutive year of record-breaking
tourism industry numbers as part of a four day, 12-stop tour around Illinois. Tourism
officials provided updates on local visitor data, job creation, revenue growth and new
tourism initiatives during a special presentation at Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch in
In 2014, the state’s tourism industry hosted more than 109.4 million visitors, an increase
of 3.5 percent over 2013, generating more than $36.3 billion in travel expenditures.
Visitors spent $323.48 million in Champaign County in 2014, an increase of 5.5 percent.
These visitor expenditures directly supported 2,570 number of jobs and generated
$5.33 million in local tax revenues.
“The ongoing increase in visitors to Illinois year-demonstrates that both leisure and
business travelers are considering Illinois a premier travel destination, providing a direct
economic benefit for communities across the state,” said Cory Jobe, Director of the
Illinois Office of Tourism. “These numbers are a true testament that the industry’s efforts
to support and promote travel to Illinois are paying off, year after year.”
Jobe highlighted two new marketing initiatives to promote Illinois’ unique travel offerings
–the launch of Enjoy, a newly formatted, bi-annual Illinois leisure travel magazine
designed to inspire travel with featured content and unique experiences; and the Illinois
Made program. Illinois is full of inventors, artists, performers, innovators, pioneers and
makers. Illinois Made will showcase and celebrate these makers, their passion for what
they do and the positive impact they’ve made on the people and culture of the state.
“Champaign County saw more than double the growth rate in 2014 visitor expenditures
and a $2 million increase in payroll, “ states Visit Champaign County President and
CEO, Jayne DeLuce. “These increases are a direct result of our team’s efforts in
drawing new and repeat business to Champaign County and marketing our community
as a destination for families, conventions, sports tournaments, motorcoach groups and
more. Tourism is an economic driver in Champaign County and we must all work
together to continue to grow.”
The events that helped increase these numbers range from the growth of festivals such
as the Pygmalion Festival, Blues Brews & BBQ Festival, and Homer Soda Festival,
major sports tournaments such as Game Day USA baseball and IHSA State Football
Championships, conferences such as the Sister Singers Network and International
Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, and significant increases in group motorcoach,
specifically in the international market. The current fiscal year just ended with new
events such as the MVP Lacrosse Tournament, Follow the Farmstead and returning
event—the Hot Rod Power Tour—as highlights.
Visit Champaign County also just
released their 2015–2016 Visitors Guide, available by request online at
www.visitchampaigncounty.org/getinfo, by phone at 217-351-4133 or at the Welcome
Center at 108 S. Neil St., Champaign.