This week is National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), an annual celebration of the contributions of the U.S. travel industry and its impact on local economies.

“On behalf of our Board of Directors and team, we look forward to celebrating and sharing the powerful story of tourism,” Dave Herrell, President and CEO, Visit Quad Cities, said in a Sunday release kicking off the week. “Tourism continues to move our regional destination forward in so many ways and supports local jobs. Its positive impact on our economic prosperity, community programming, and brand positioning is vital to the future of the Quad Cities. Tourism and the non-resident revenues — including the significant tax revenue it creates for the public sector — directly benefits quality of life and quality of place for our residents.  

Visit Quad Cities launched the “QC, That’s Where” promotional campaign last fall.

“This week is about shedding light on the positives of what it means to all of us locally and nationally,” he said. “Visit Quad Cities is proud to be a shared and common community value for the region and will continue to lead tourism development, destination marketing, and visitor experience as we compete for market share and worldwide attention.”   

Dave Herrell is president/CEO of Visit Quad Cities.

Visitors and non-resident revenues generate significant economic benefits to households, businesses, and the public sector. These impacts from visitation result from overnight stays, day trippers, meetings, conventions, sporting events, and group tours. In 2020, per the U.S. Travel Association and Tourism Economics, visitor spending in the QC generated over $958 million. 

Through a partnership with Datafy, Visit Quad Cities can track overnight visitation and day-trippers coming into the Quad Cities regional destination. Datafy uses mobile devices and geofencing to gather data on each visitor 16 years or older.   

Using Datafy, Visit Quad Cities since February 2018 has tracked 2.6+ million unique visitors who made 13.6+ million trips to the QC and spent 45+ million visitor days, for an average trip length of 3.3 days, the release said. The top cities generating the most visitation were Chicago, Cedar Rapids, Omaha, Dubuque, Des Moines, and Minneapolis. 

Visit Quad Cities — which last fall unveiled a new “QC, That’s Where” promotional brand campaign — reported positive 2020 economic numbers, despite the pandemic.

In addition to working with Datafy, Visit Quad Cities has launched curated destination experiences with Bandwango, a travel technology-based platform designed to deliver access to places and experiences digitally.

Visit Quad Cities uses Bandwango for the QC Coffee Trail, QC Family Pass, and QC Advanced Pro. In addition to the QC Ale Trail, these tourism products showcase our authentic and locally curated experiences. 

Hosting events boosts economic impact

Visit Quad Cities is constantly looking at opportunities that drive prosperity, value, and quality of place. The QCs hosts hundreds of meetings, conferences, trade shows, military and family reunions, festivals and special events, and sports events of all sizes every year. These events generate a positive economic impact through non-resident revenues and help to employ 8,000 local residents in the tourism and hospitality industry.

Sports tourism continues to generate a strong economic impact leading to bookings in the pandemic recovery phase, and growth is projected in this market for some time to come, the VQC release said. In addition, the river cruise industry will highly-activate the world-renowned Mississippi River, our global asset.

The QC has 54 stops from national cruise line companies this year — with Viking Cruise Lines embarking on the Mississippi for the first time this summer, joining American Queen Voyages and American Cruise Lines. 

Visit Quad Cities is seeing an increase in requests for proposals from meeting planners this year, giving a positive outlook for the return of meetings, conferences, and conventions. This uptick similarly compares with the data U.S. Travel Association and Destination International is sharing regarding the meetings industry recovery.   

Some of the upcoming events scheduled in 2022 include: 

  • NAIA Men’s Golf Championship, May 17-20 – TPC Deere Run 
  • Iowa Wastewater Conference, June 7-9 – RiverCenter  
  • Illinois State Cowboy Action Championship, July 14-17 – Holiday Inn Express, Moline 
  • 2022 Antique Automobile Club of America National Meet, August 11-14 – Bend XPO 
  • ISC World Tournament, August 14-20 – Greenvalley Sports Complex 
  • USS Leary Navy Reunion, September 7-10 – Holiday Inn Hotel & Conference Center – Rock Island  
  • PDGA Tim Selinske U.S. Masters Championships, September 7-11 – QC disc golf courses 
  • Tea Leaf Club International National Convention, September 7-11 – Holiday Inn Hotel & Conference Center – Rock Island  
  • Central Regional CrossFit Competition, September 16-18 – Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds 
  • Iowa Recycling & Solid Waste Management Conference, October 3-4 – Quad-City Waterfront Convention Center 
  • American Cue Sports Iowa State Pool Championships, October 17-23 – RiverCenter  
  • Lutherans for Life National Conference, October 18-22 – Holiday Inn Hotel & Conference Center – Rock Island  

Celebrated annually the first full week in May, the NTTW was created by Congress in 1983 to elevate the economic power of travel in the U.S. For more information, visit ustravel.org/NTTW.