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May 8, 2000


CHICAGO -- Governor George Ryan today announced that consumer spending on travel and tourism in Illinois hit a record level of $22.05 billion in 1999, according to initial estimates by the Travel Industry Association of America. Travel-related expenditures in the state jumped by 5.5 percent from 1998, when spending by tourists totaled $20.9 billion.

"During my first year in office, I made sure we increased funding for our tourism promotion programs. That commitment of $5 million in additional money helped pump an extra billion dollars into our state economy, which is a pretty good return on investment no matter how you look at it," Ryan said.

For the upcoming fiscal year, Ryan directed a $2.7 million increase for the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs' (DCCA) tourism promotion efforts. The new funding will be used for advertising campaigns that target both domestic and overseas markets.

Tourism-related employment last year supported more than 310,000 Illinois jobs, which generated a $7.2 billion payroll. Meanwhile, overall tax revenues generated by tourism expenditures in Illinois increased by 8 percent to $4.4 billion. Because DCCA's tourism advertising campaign is funded through a tax on hotel and motel rooms, the state's marketing and promotion efforts are financed primarily by out-of-state visitors.

"Illinois is getting its money's worth when it comes to spending money to promote travel within the state. We expect the economic benefits of tourism will only grow as we aggressively market our state as a premier travel destination," DCCA Director Pam McDonough said.

Illinois' investment in tourism promotion pays enormous returns, generating $1,428 for every dollar invested last year in the state's 1999 spring/summer advertising campaign. Under an even stricter calculation -- counting only those travelers who decided to visit Illinois because of its tourism advertising -- the state reaped $196 for every $1 invested last spring.

DCCA recently hired BBDO Chicago to execute Illinois' new Right Here. Right Now. tourism advertising campaign, which is scheduled to run for 14 weeks in targeted cities throughout the Midwest. The campaign is designed to convey a new energy and excitement for Illinois, highlighting all the surprising and wonderful things there are to see and do right now.

The latest national report showed that domestic travelers to Illinois spent nearly $20.4 billion, while the remaining $1.65 billion came from overseas travelers. Consumer spending on travel and tourism in Illinois has increased every year for the last 14 years.


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