McHenry County tourism spending climbs 3.6 percent

Tourism spending increased by 3.6% in McHenry County in 2018 over the previous year, attracting $256.3 million in local spending and helping to contribute to record economic growth in the state, tourism officials said.

McHenry County's tourism success is credited with supporting 1,720 local jobs, as well as $8.32 million in local tax revenue, a 2.2% increase.

The figures are part of Illinois Office of Tourism data released in late July. Jan Kemmerling, acting director of the Illinois Office of Tourism, said both international and domestic travel expenditures reached $41.7 billion in 2018, a $2 billion boost to Illinois' economy since 2017. More than 117 million visitors came to Illinois in 2018 - the eighth consecutive year of record tourism growth in the state.

Jaki Berggren, executive director of Visit McHenry County, said it is great to see Visit McHenry County's efforts reflected in the numbers.

"Due to the marketing efforts of Visit McHenry County, tourism has increased in our area for the ninth year in a row," she said. "We continue to generate high quality visitor resources and stay engaged on social media. As we move into the next three years with a new strategic plan and soon, new branding, we are excited to see these numbers continue to grow."

Statewide, visitor spending added 5,200 jobs, the Illinois Office of Tourism data show.

"Tourism is a critical part of our economy, helping to boost local and state tax revenue and create jobs," Kemmerling said. "From scenic road trips to stunning state parks, amazing family-friendly attractions and spectacular nightlife, Illinois offers incredible experiences for visitors all year long."

"Fast Facts" about Illinois tourism in 2018:

• Of Illinois' 114.6 million domestic visitors, 16% were for business and 84% for leisure;

• Illinois welcomed more than 2.3 million international visitors in 2018;

• In the past 10 years, domestic travel to Illinois has increased by 26 million visitors;

• The visitor expenditures generated by domestic visitors supported 342,300 jobs in 2018, an increase of 6,200 jobs since 2017;

• State and local tax revenue generated from visitor spending jumped 7.1% to $3.3 billion, creating an additional $220.8 million for the state as well as local communities.

Illinois Office of Tourism receives domestic visitor volume estimates from DK Shifflet and international visitor numbers from Tourism Economics. Visitor expenditures, tax revenue and jobs numbers come from U.S. Travel Association.

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