The Iowa Travel Industry Partners (iTIP) association gathered statewide partners for Tourism Legislative Night with Iowa’s elected officials on January 17, 2024. 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, 2022 travelers in Iowa generated $10.4 billion in revenue, supported over 68,000 jobs, and generated labor income of $2.4 billion throughout the state. In Iowa, these dollars in turn generated more than $1.1 billion in state and local tax revenue. Each household in Iowa would need to be taxed an additional $847 to replace the visitor generated taxes received by the state and local governments.
“Tourism is not just about destinations; it’s about economic empowerment, job creation, and community growth,” says Chelsea Lerud, Executive Director Iowa Travel Industry Partners. Lerud continues, “Iowa’s travel and hospitality industry play a pivotal role in our state’s prosperity. The $10.4 billion in revenue generated by 2022 travelers underscores the significance of tourism to Iowa’s economy. At Tourism Legislative Night, we highlighted key priorities, emphasizing the need for sustained funding for initiatives like the Iowa Tourism Office, Regional Sports Authority Districts, and support for a consistent school start date to maximize revenue. As a united industry, we are forging a path for the continued success of Iowa’s vibrant travel industry.”
Iowa’s tourism and hospitality industry is an economic revenue generator for Iowa’s economy. Top priorities discussed throughout the evening included:
- Support funding for tourism initiatives including the Iowa Tourism Office (Iowa Economic Development Authority), Destination Iowa, Sports Tourism Fund, Community Attraction & Tourism (CAT), Meet in Iowa, and Community Placemaking Efforts.
- Maintain funding and continued enhancement of Regional Sports Authority Districts.
- Support Iowa’s current earliest school start date of August 23 to allow the tourism industry to generate revenue for the state.
- Support alternative funding sources for tourism, including the enactment of IWILL and water quality initiatives that include funding for tourism and quality of life components, amongst other alternative sources.
Tourism Legislative Night was hosted in partnership with multiple statewide tourism associations and organizations, including the Iowa Gaming Association, Iowa Speedway, Iowa Wine Growers Association, Iowa Chamber of Commerce Association, Iowa Bicycle Coalition, Iowa Golf Council / Iowa PGA, RAGBRAI, Iowa’s County Conservation System, Iowa Brewers Guild and with support by Experience Sioux City, Catch Des Moines, Travel Dubuque/Field of Dreams Movie Site, and Visit Quad Cities. iTIP is committed to forming a united front with collaboration essential to continued growth of the industry.