• Winnebago County Sees Tourism Growth

     
    POSTED August 23, 2016
     

Tourist spending in Rockford and Winnebago counties has continues to rise year after year—in 2015 it reached $349.91 million, a 3 percent increase from the previous year, according to the Illinois Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism.

"We are delighted to see such strong results again this year for the tourism economy in Winnebago County," says Roberta Holzwarth, board chair, Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Sustained economic growth is crucial as we transform our region.”

The tax revenue from tourism is injected straight into the community, rounding out at $5.9 million for 2015 alone. The result is a booming tourism and hospitality industry that employs more than 2,800 people.

This growth isn’t limited to the Rockford and Winnebago communities, the Illinois Office of Tourism announced that the Illinois tourism industry has achieved a steady, continued growth in 2015. Expenditures have topped off at $37 billion and the industry has created more than 10,000 jobs statewide.

"Illinois has something for everyone to enjoy, from world-class museums and galleries, to historic sites, rich cultural arts community to professional sports, outdoor recreation and beautiful vistas,” says Cory M. Jobe, director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. “Our tourism and hospitality industry are Illinois’ greatest champions, drawing not only new visitors, but repeat travelers as well, in order to support and grow our local economies.”

Remote working has become mainstream with the continued presence of COVID-19. While many people have welcomed the new normal of working from home, others miss the separation of spaces, as many corporate offices have remained closed since March. Without the daily obligation to go into the office, professionals have the ability to travel more freely. Hotels across the country are creating “work from hotel” deals–a play on “work from home”–so people can explore new places while still fitting in their 9 to 5.  

 

After almost 20 years of vacancy, the Cook County Hospital in Chicago will be put to use once again. A $150 million adaptive reuse project restored the historic, 106-year-old hospital, which has become a combined Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotel, as well as medical offices, a museum, a food hall and more. While the opening is multi-phased, the hotels are scheduled to open in late July.  

 

Jumpstarting tourism in cities across the country will be more complicated than simply opening doors again – especially in cities with large populations like Chicago. However, working together proves more effective, and in Chicago, more than 250 businesses are banding together to join Choose Chicago’s new initiative, Tourism & Hospitality Forward. It bolsters a safe reopening that encourages tourism as well as meetings and events in