Report: Tourism, visitor spending in QC reaches $1.3 billion

Dave Herrell, president and CEO of Visit Quad Cities, gives an update on the 50th RAGBRAI ride and the 49th running of the Quad-City Times Bix 7 race during a news conference Monday, July 10, in Davenport. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

Visitor spending in the Quad Cities is experiencing “remarkable growth” and has exceeded pre-pandemic levels, according to a Visit Quad Cities report released Tuesday, Nov. 14.

The Quad Cities witnessed growth in the overall value of tourism, reaching $1.3 billion and supporting 9,097 jobs for Quad Citizens in 2022, the study showed.

“Tourism is a leader in economic development for our region and these numbers are proof positive,” said Dave Herrell, president and CEO of Visit Quad Cities. “The overall value that non-resident revenues bring to our regional economy is critical for quality of life and to build a tax base that we need for re-investment.”

He added: “While we are encouraged by these results in Scott and Rock Island counties, we are also observing growth in counties such as Mercer, Henry, Clinton and Muscatine.”

The tourism spending rebound was also at center stage last week when Daniel Thomas, deputy director of the Illinois Office of Tourism, visited Bally’s Quad Cities Casino and Hotel in Rock Island as part of his State of Illinois Tourism Listening Tour

At the Quad Cities stop, the state tourism chief also said that while the tourism numbers last year were good, they can be better and he’s seeking ways to help CVBs make that happen.

“What’s not lost on me is that pre-pandemic Illinois was on a really good momentum roll,” Mr. Thomas said at that event. “We had nine consecutive years of tourism growth.”

In announcing the new tourism results Tuesday, Mr. Herrell added: “In addition, we recently announced during our annual Destination QC! event that tourism is not only delivering for our public sector through much-needed tax revenues such as hotel/motel tax collections and sales tax but also has a direct impact on multiple revenue streams, including food and beverage, gaming, gas, and support for small businesses.” 

Tourism also results in annual tax savings of over $1,260 per household in Illinois and Iowa, Visit Quad Cities officials said.

“These numbers are encouraging, including the data we shared on October 26, which showed an 18% year-over-year growth in hotel/motel tax collections to $7.7 million collectively. We are currently realizing demand and are optimistic, but the market will soften,” Mr. Herrell added. 

“That is why increases in destination marketing investments to sustain this momentum and position us in a highly competitive landscape must be a community priority so that we do not lag behind our competitors.” 

During the 2022 calendar year, Iowa and Illinois collectively welcomed 150.5 million visitors, resulting in an $88.4 billion economic impact.

Visit Quad Cities provided visitor economic summary figures for the QC:

Category 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total Visitor Spending $1.22B $958.76M $1.14B $1.30B
Total Local Taxes Generated $74.79M $65.14M $74.69M $74.38M
Total State Taxes Generated $76.48M $62.87M $68.23M $81.49M

County-by-County Analysis (Rock Island County, Illinois)

2022 2021 Difference
Total Spending $531.6M $444.7M 19.5%+
Direct Spending $304.9M $242.8M 25.6%+
State Taxes Total $22.3M $17.5M 27.4%+
State Taxes Direct $16.7M $12.7M 31.5%+
Local Taxes Total $14.6M $12.3M 18.7%+
Local Taxes Direct $8.9M $7.1M 25.3%+

County-by-County Analysis (Scott County, Iowa)

2022 2021 Difference
Total Spending $774.16M $698.18M 11%+
Direct Spending $513.32M $455.50M 13%+
State Taxes Total $59.19M $55.56M 6%+
State Taxes Direct $42.59M $39.66M 7%+
Local Taxes Total $59.78M $57.62M 4%+
Local Taxes Direct $38.61M $36.77M 5%+

The 2022 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 results are reported annually to show the industry’s scope in terms of visitor spending and the total fiscal impact. The county-by-county analysis is part of the Tourism Economics report issued by both states to their destination marketing partners such as Visit Quad Cities. The U.S. Travel Association also uses Tourism Economics to report the economic impact of tourism.

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