This came from Lori Tuttle at the Quincy Area Convention & Visitors Bureau:

Quincy, IL - The Western Illinois counties of Adams, Pike & Hancock generated $137 million combined in visitor expenditures last year, with $89 million spent in Adams, up 7 %;  $25 million in Hancock Co., up 5 %;  and $22 million in Pike County, up 6%.

The Illinois Office of Tourism recently released the state report, prepared by the U.S. Travel Association that indicates that tourism in these three counties supported 1,010 local jobs with a payroll of $27.49 million.  The three counties also collected $7.91 million in state sales tax related to tourism and $4.93 million was generated in local sales tax, up $1 million from 2010.

Total visitor spending in Illinois was a record $31.8 billion in 2011, up 8.4% from a year ago. Nearly $2.5 billion was fueled by a surge in leisure travel. The number of visitors in Illinois also set a record at 93 million visitors, an increase of 10% from 2010. These records mark the industry’s return to pre-recession levels and provide much needed tax revenue to the state.

The Quincy Area Convention & Visitors Bureau has vamped up marketing efforts targeting the leisure visitor in the past several years, with the 2011 advertising budget double of what it was in 2008. “With leisure travel being in the forefront of the tourism industry, the Bureau has released a wide variety of new marketing campaigns, both nationally and regionally.

Quincy naturally is a strong attraction because of its outstanding architecture, history and value. We have focused specifically on our given assets to build momentum in advertising,” said Lori Tuttle, Marketing Manager of the Quincy Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Bureau’s newest marketing campaign touts Quincy’s ever solid architectural heritage: 3665STRONG. The campaign refers to the 3,665 buildings in Quincy on the National Register. The marketing efforts are far-reaching with billboards in Missouri, national ads in PRESERVATION Magazine, as well as regional ads and social media exposure.

To create local awareness and revenue for our great attractions in the three-county area, the Bureau recently released the 50/50CHALLENGE in conjunction with the printing of the 50 Great Things to See & Do brochure. Visitors and residents are challenged to visit all 50 sites within 50 days to win a weekend getaway to Chicago.

“The record state data indicates that tourism is a leading economic force for our  communities and the state of Illinois.  We are encouraged once again that last year’s additional growth was statewide and stronger than ever in our three-county service area,” said Holly Cain, Executive Director of the Quincy Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

For a full state travel report, contact the Bureau at 217-214-3700 or 1-800-978-4748.