The Illinois Department of Commerce announced that the tourism industry in the state achieved significant growth in 2015. Travelers in the state spend about $37 billion while they were visiting, a 2.6 percent increase from 2014. That equals the creation of 10,000 new jobs in the state.
Effingham County benefited from the boom in tourism as well raking in just shy of $3 million in tax revenue from tourism in 2015, a 9% increase from 2014. Visitors spent around $153 million in the county, supporting 990 jobs.
“We’re happy to see our tourism numbers continue to trend upward,” said Effingham Tourism Director Jodi Thoele. “Effingham tourism continues to thrive for many reasons but one main reason is due to our dedicated hospitality partners here in Effingham, including our hotels, restaurants, attractions and the people behind them. We also have enthusiastic meeting planners, festival/event coordinators and sporting events coordinators bringing in fantastic events each year, which help to highlight our City and bring in new visitors. It’s rewarding to see everyone’s dedication and hard work pay off.”
The City of Effingham regularly subsidizes events and organizations, like the Effingham Performance Center, that promote tourism in the county. However City administrator Jim Arndt has expressed concern that the municipality’s tourism fund has been operating in the red recently. There has been discussion, but no action yet, on enforcing a citywide amusement tax on ticket sales to boost the struggling tourism fund.