---- — DES MOINES — Travelers in Iowa spent more money in the state in 2013 versus 2012, according to the 2013 Iowa Welcome Center Survey Report. The Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Iowa Tourism Office conducted the annual study.
Travel party spending per day on lodging, entertainment, transportation, food and shopping increased 8.5 percent from $263.20 in 2012 to $285.47 in 2013. The survey also showed an increase in the number of trips in Iowa. On average visitors took 3.4 trips in the state in 2013 compared to 2.9 trips in 2012.
The most popular destinations were historical attractions, museums, scenic byways, outdoor recreation and shopping.
Iowa’s system of 19 Welcome Centers provides a valuable service to travelers. In addition to stocking hundreds of brochures on Iowa destinations, each center has Certified Travel Counselors available to personally assist visitors with the goal of prolonging their time and spending in Iowa. Combined, the centers served nearly half a million travelers in 2013. More than a third of them extended their stay in Iowa based on information they received at a Welcome Center.
“The desire to travel is one of our most basic and intrinsic values, and we’re increasingly seeing people make travel a priority,” said Iowa Tourism Office Manager Shawna Lode. “Whether they are passing through or making Iowa their final vacation destination, the travel counselors at Iowa’s Welcome Centers play an important role in growing Iowa’s economy by encouraging travelers to stay in our state longer.”
The Iowa Tourism Office coordinates various research projects on an ongoing basis to gather information about Iowa travelers. Data is used to create effective marketing strategies that encourage people to choose Iowa as a travel destination. More information about each of these projects is here.
Tourism in Iowa generates more than $7.6 billion in expenditures, employs 64,400 people statewide and generates $328 million in state taxes. The Iowa Tourism Office is part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. For more information about Iowa tourism, visit www.traveliowa.com, call 800.345.IOWA or stop at any Iowa Welcome Center.