(Des Moines, IA) – The Iowa Travel Industry Partners (iTIP) association gathered statewide partners for Tourism Legislative Night with Iowa’s elected officials January 17, 2023. Conversations taking place at Curate in Downtown Des Moines focused on the importance of tourism to Iowa’s economy. Bipartisan members of the Iowa Senate and Iowa House of Representatives attended the event.
Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the state. According to Tourism Economics report on the Economic Impact of Tourism on Iowa, 2021 travelers in Iowa generated $9.4 billion in revenue, supported over 65,000 jobs, and generated labor income of $2.2 billion throughout the state. In Iowa, these dollars in turn generated more than $1 billion in state and local tax revenue.
“No one in Iowa can say, ‘there is nothing to do here’. Everywhere you look, tourism in Iowa is thriving,” stated iTIP Executive Director, Chelsea Lerud. “During the 2022 Legislative Session, Iowa’s elected officials passed historic programming that allowed Iowans to showcase the state. Each of these programs have contributed to the growth of our state and has helped to attract and retain Iowans. We cannot rest on our past success and iTIP pledges to be a partner to the state showcasing all the wonderful things we are doing.”
Iowa’s tourism and hospitality industry is an economic revenue generator for Iowa’s economy. Top priorities discussed throughout the evening included:
- Tourism experienced a record year by receiving over $50.70 M in appropriations in 2022. Over $30.5 M of that was new funding to be used for the creation of new tourism resources and bolster current programming. iTIP will ensure those appropriations are deployed appropriately and maintained in the FY24 budget.
- Support the enactment of IWILL (Iowa Land and Legacy) or water quality initiatives that include funding for tourism and quality of life components.
- Support Iowa’s current earliest school start date of August 23 to allow the tourism industry to generate revenue to pay for education. In 2021, tourism generated $1.0 billion in state and local tax revenues which support the state’s education system.
Tourism Legislative Night was hosted in partnership with multiple statewide tourism associations and organizations, including the Iowa Gaming Association, Iowa Restaurant Association, Iowa Public Airports Association, Iowa Brewers Guild, Iowa Golf Council, Iowa State Fair and with support by Experience Waterloo, Think Iowa City, Travel Dubuque, and Visit Quad Cities. iTIP is committed to forming a united front with collaboration essential to continued growth of the industry.