The Quad Cities saw growth in tourism’s total value in 2021, as it reached $1.14 billion, supporting 8,618 local jobs for Quad Citizens.

While tourism’s economic impact is still below the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, the region is seeing a positive trend in growth, according to a Wednesday release from Visit Quad Cities.

“Tourism and non-resident revenues continue to add significant value for our regional economy, said Dave Herrell, president/CEO of Visit Quad Cities. “Tourism is delivering for our public sector partners by generating much-needed tax revenues to help regain our base to 2019 levels. We are seeing positive trends in key metrics, but I would caution the community that a full recovery will take time.”

Dave Herrell is president/CEO of Visit Quad Cities.

He said the sharp decline in 2020 visitor spending still resulted in $958.76 million, after a record year of $1.2 billion in 2019.

“In addition to these numbers from our state partners through Tourism Economics, and looking at FY22, our hospitality industry partners are realizing upticks in demand,” Herrell said. “Overall hotel/motel tax revenue collections for the public sector in FY22 were $6.5 million in the region, which was a big gain from $4.9 million in FY21 after dropping to $4.6 million in FY20; pre-pandemic collections were $6.2 million in FY19.

“We are optimistic, but we must increase destination marketing investments to sustain overall economic recovery and drive overnight demand in the market.”

The 2021 numbers come from the Iowa Tourism Office (a division of the Iowa Economic Development Authority) and the Illinois Office of Tourism (a division of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity).

Both contract with Tourism Economics, the leading authority on travel and tourism research, to prepare a comprehensive model detailing the far-reaching impacts of visitor spending, the Wednesday release said. The results of these studies are reported annually to show the industry’s scope in terms of visitor spending and the total fiscal impact generated.

A county-by-county analysis is part of the Tourism Economics report issued by both states to their destination marketing partners like Visit Quad Cities.