Visitor spending in Rockford area sets new record in 2022

The money visitors spend in Winnebago County continues to increase as the industry bounces back after the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Illinois Office of Tourism, visitors spent a record-breaking $508.5 million last year in Winnebago County, a 16.5% increase over 2021.

The $508.5 million in tourism revenue for Winnebago County surpasses a pre-pandemic record of $480 million set in 2019.

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The total revenue number includes hotel spending, recreation, food and beverage along with retail and transportation dollars received from people who live more than 50 miles from Winnebago County.

The growth in tourism revenue in Winnebago County was part of a trend seen across the area and across the state.

Visitors spending in Stephenson County reached a record-breaking $50.2 million last year, a 9.3% increase over 2021.

In 2022, visitor expenditures in Illinois hit $44 billion, up $12 billion from 2021, according to the Illinois Office of Tourism.

"More tourism means millions of new visitors exploring all the amazing things that our state and city have to offer, supporting small businesses and local economies along the way," Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said.

In total, Illinois welcomed more than 111 million visitors last year.

Tourism spending in Winnebago dropped to $358.5 million in 2020.

According to the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, record tourism spending in 2022 contributed to the creation of 782 new positions for local individuals for a total of 4,580 jobs, $158 million in payroll, $13.8 million in local tax revenue and $32.7 million in state tax revenue.

This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: Tourism dollars hit record high in Rockford area in 2022