Tourism… The Hidden Job Generator!
Tourism is Illinois’ hidden revenue and jobs generator. The travel industry has been important to the Illinois economy due to the large number of businesses and jobs supported by it. These jobs include a large number of executive and managerial positions, as well as service-oriented occupations. The research provided by the Illinois Bureau of Tourism and the research department of the U.S. Travel Association indicates in their 2013 report, domestic and international visitor spending in Illinois generated 301,100 jobs. This employment included full-time and seasonal part-time positions in the state. This reflects a 0.8 percent increase from the previous year. Domestic visitor spending supported 277,400 jobs and international visitor spending supported 23,700 jobs. These 301,100 travel-supported jobs composed 5.2 percent of total non-agricultural employment in Illinois. The food service sector including restaurants and other eating and drinking places provided more employment than any other industry sector accounting for 119,500 jobs. The large amount of visitor expenditures spent on food service contributed to the high level of employment in this sector. Public transportation was the second largest sector to provide employment, generating 75,200 jobs. Travel generated employment in Illinois includes 39.7% in food service, 28.8% in public and auto transportation, 13.7% in lodging, 10.4% with entertainment and recreation and 7.3% in general retail trade.
Tourism in McLean County also generates significant revenue and jobs. Visitor expenditures in 2013 in McLean County were $352.81 million. According to the Illinois Bureau of Tourism and the U.S. Travel Association, tourism generated payroll was $63.04 million and more than 2,730 were employed in one of the listed above travel industry sectors. State tax receipts related to travel were $24 million and local tax receipts were at $5.75 million. The average rate of return on investment that Illinois tourism generates is $6. In Bloomington-Normal the return on investment is $8.24 for every dollar the City of Bloomington and the Town of Normal invest in the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
We have a wealth of contributors to the economic impact of tourism and the jobs generated in McLean County. Our top contributors include; the City of Bloomington, the Town of Normal, State Farm Insurance, Illinois State University, Country Financial, Advocate Bromenn Medical Center, Mitsubishi Motors North America, our attractions, bars, restaurants and hotels.
Tourism is a reliable source of revenue, an employer hiring all levels of education, both part time and full time, and a necessity for the economic development of McLean County. For more information on the economic impact of tourism and the jobs generated, contact the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau at 309-665-0033.