AP NEWS

Kankakee County tourism hit $142M in 2017

July 19, 2018 GMT

On the eve of the opening of the Chicago Bears training camp, local tourism figures were released by the state and Kankakee County continues to score big.

Visitors to Kankakee County pumped $142.2 million into the local economy, a 3.9-increase when compared to 2016 figures, according to just-released figures from the Illinois Tourism Office.

The $142.2 million translated to $3.83 million in local tax revenue, which is a 4.1-percent increase.

Statewide, $39.5 billion was spent in Illinois by international and domestic travelers, which is a $1.1 billion boost in the state’s economy since 2016. Of the $39.6 billion total, $36.3 billion came from domestic travelers and $3.2 billion from international travelers.

Staci Wilken, executive director for the Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau, stated the continued upward trend in tourism income will result in continued development of the region.

“We see progress in corporate development projects, a brand new Hampton by Hilton and another hotel set to break ground this year, the launch of the community bike-share program, and an increased focus on our natural resources and agri-tourism,” Wilken said. “Highlighting what makes Kankakee County special is easy.”

Cory Jobe, the state’s tourism director, said 6,040 jobs were created across Illinois in 2017 as a result of visitor spending. He said 30 of these jobs were in Kankakee County.

In all, he noted, visitors’ spending supported 308,490 jobs here in 2017.

According to tourism calculations, for every $1 invested in tourism, $9 of economic impact in Illinois is generated.

Jobe said in all, Illinois welcomed 111 million domestic visitors. Of that total, 17 percent came here for business and 83 percent for leisure.

He also noted that within the past 10 years, domestic travel statewide has increased by 23 million visitors.

“Illinois is a perfect destination for anyone looking for a new experience whether it’s an outdoor adventure, a scenic road trip, incredible nightlife, or a family-friendly activity — there truly is something for everybody,” Jobe said.