ROCKFORD (WREX) — For a 10th straight year, visitor spending in the Forest City has increased.
In 2018, travel provided $329 million in economic impact, according to the Rockford Area Visitors and Convention Bureau. That’s a 54 percent increase since 2009.
The RACVB says the growth in the tourism industry also contributed to more than 3,000 jobs for area residents, generating an employment income of $95 million.
The growth in tourism exceeded all other major counties in Illinois outside of Cook with Chicago.
“Tourism is a strong economic driver locally and has caused a ripple effect throughout our community. Based on reports and data analysis we can clearly see many businesses and organizations are thriving from successful tourism-related initiatives and events,” said Jennifer Furst, RACVB’s board chair. “I especially appreciate the correlation between visitor spending and how that helps put local people to work.”
The RACVB says it is expecting even more tourism growth with the addition of a downtown hotel in the city. That former Amerock factory will open in the spring as a Hilton Embassy Suites.