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Tourism revenue at all-time high

Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 12:00 p.m. CDT

Newly released figures indicate tourism revenue in DuPage County is at an all-time high.

Visitors to the county contributed $2.25 billion to the state’s economy in 2012, a 4.8 percent increase compared to last year’s revenue, according to DuPage Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, U.S. Travel Association and the State of Illinois Office of Tourism.

“It’s a good increase. We’re seeing a rebound from the economy and the numbers are on line proportionally with the rest of Illinois,” CVB Director of Development Beth Marchetti said. “People are now wiling to travel, spend money and hotel occupancy goes up.”

While the county can’t track the number of visitors exactly, she said, evaluating revenues from hotels and other sources can indicate how the county and state is faring. Visitors spend money on gas for cars, diapers for kids, restaurants and other attractions, Marchetti said, creating a healthier economy for the county.

Tourism in the county was responsible for $132.36 million in state tax receipts, also a 4.8 percent increase compared to last year, according to a CVB news release. Local tax receipts reached $37.36 million, a 6.3 percent increase. DuPage County is second only to Cook County in tourism revenue, Marchetti said.

This recent increase is part of an uptick in revenue that has occurred since the 2008 economic crisis. But the size of the spike was a positive sign, according to Marchetti.

“In 2008 and 2009, we were seeing only 1 percent increases, so the fact that we’re at four, 4.5, five percent increases is significant,” she said.

Last year’s Ryder Cup, while a “once in a lifetime” experience that brought people into the county, wasn’t a major part of the growth.

“People ask whether these numbers are healthy because of the Ryder Cup, but they’re healthy because they’re healthy,” Marchetti said. “We loved having it, and Ryder helped, but many people stayed in downtown Chicago. It was just a good year.”

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