Just like the state of Illinois, Sangamon County tourism is up too.
The county ranks seventh among all 102 counties, trailing only Cook County and the other five collar counties. Mayor Mike Houston was happy and optimistic about the future.
“Realistically, it litereally impacts everyone in Springfield and in Sangamon County whether they realize it or not.”
But Houston also revealed that citizens of Springfield can forget how toursim impacts them on a daily basis.
“You know, living here in Springfield we are often so rushed we sometimes forget to notice the world around us, especially the gems of culture, history and relaxation.”
Overall, 3,140 jobs with an 85.54 million dollar payroll add to an economic impact of 388.08 million in the county in 2012. That’s up 2.5 percent from 2011. After the numbers were announced, Mayor Mike Houston called Springfield “the anchor of downstate tourism.” Another happy Springfield official was Ward 6 Alderman Cory Jobe, who was in attendance at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield as well.
“We need to continue to develop new pruduct,” said Jobe, “We learned here today that Route 66 and the international travelor is very important to the torusim numbers.”
Illinois has seen another record year for tourism, with more than 99 million visitors from across the U.S. last year. It’s a 6.1 percent increase over the more than 93 million visitors in 2011. That was also a record year.
State officials say tourism generated more than $31 billion for the Illinois economy in 2012. That’s about 5 percent more than in 2011, when tourism brought in about $29.5 billion.