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Illinois Touts Record Tourism Numbers

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 256

Tourism1The State of Illinois says there were record numbers of tourists visiting the state last year, and it can happen again.

The Illinois Department of Tourism has been on a “road show” all week touting that almost 106-million people visited Illinois last year, up four-and-a-half percent from 2012. In

Galesburg, there’s a reported four percent increase in hotel room nights sold over 2012, with more than 118-thousand.

The “Road Show” was in Galesburg at Discovery Depot this afternoon. State Tourism Director Jen Hoelzle says there’s a way those numbers can go even higher, if even Illinois residents do their part.

“If we all took just one more day off, it would be a boon of 73-billion dollars to the economy,” says Hoelzle. “As travel leaders, what else would it do, it would increase the pool of potential travelers to your region. So it’s important to encourage people to take days off.”

Hoelzle claims that most Americans leave vacation time on the table every year. She says many visitors to Illinois tourism sites are actually from the state.

In Knox County, the state claims tourism netted nearly 69-million dollars last year, a nearly two-percent increase over 2012.

The state also gave Discovery Depot their “Enjoy Illinois Lincoln Award” to the depot, due to the new attractions they’ve recently added, and the increase in visitors that came with it.