By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Appanoose County in 2011 took in more tourism money than it did in 2010 by nearly $2 million.
Appanoose County took in $16.46 million in domestic tourism travel expenditures in 2011, ranking the county 58th against all other Iowa counties, according to a study by the Research Department of the U.S. Travel Association in Washington, D.C.
Appanoose County in 2010 took in $14.69 million in domestic tourism travel expenditures, ranking the county 57th in Iowa. Appanoose County's 2010-2011 increase was 12.07 percent.
Only Allamakee, Audubon, Boone, Buchanan, Butler, Calhoun, Cedar, Cerro Gordo, Des Moines, Dickinson, Fayette, Franklin, Guthrie, Jackson, Jones, Lyon, Madison, Marion, Mills, Muscatine, Page, Ringgold, Taylor, Washington, Winnebago, Worth and Wright counties — 27 in all — finished higher than Appanoose County in percent of increase of travel expenditures from 2010 to 2011.
The fact Appanoose County took in more travel expenditures from 2010-2011 but slipped a rank from 57th to 58th underscores what other Iowa counties are doing to attract visitors and travel expenditures.
Domestic travel spending in Iowa totaled $7.2 billion in 2011, a 10.3 percent increase from 2010. The top five counties in order were Polk, (Des Moines, Ankeny, Altoona, etc.) Linn, (Cedar Rapids) Scott, Johnson (Iowa City) and Black Hawk (Waterloo).
The 53 page study issued in August for the Iowa Economic Development Authority Iowa Tourism Office, reveals higher populated areas tended to receive more tourism money.
In Appanoose County it's Centerville, Honey Creek Resort State Park, Rathbun Lake, local events like Pancake Day and the rolling country-side that offers hunting and fishing opportunities.
Appanoose County took in $16.46 million in domestic travel expenditures in 2011. It generated $1.95 million in payroll, maintained 1,200 in employment and generated $220,000 in local tax receipts.
Appanoose County ranked 58th against all other Iowa counties in 2011. Surrounding counties like Monroe came in at 81st, Lucas came in at 83rd, Wayne came in at 84th and Davis came in at 85th.
Where does neighboring counties like Davis, Wayne, Lucas and Monroe rank?
Davis County took in $6.36 million in domestic travel expenditures in 2011. It generated $640,000 in payroll, maintained 400 in employment and generated $70,000 in local tax receipts. In 2010, Davis County realized $5.73 million in travel expenditures.
Lucas County took in $7.23 million in domestic travel expenditures in 2011. It generated $820,000 in payroll, maintained 500 in employment and generated $80,000 in local tax receipts. In 2010, Lucas County realized $6.60 million in travel expenditures.
Monroe County took in $8.17 million in domestic travel expenditures in 2011. It generated $1.39 million in payroll, maintained 900 in employment and generated $100,000 in local tax receipts. In 2010, Monroe County realized $7.51 million in travel expenditures.
Wayne County took in $6.64 million in domestic travel expenditures in 2011. It generated $780,000 in payroll, maintained 500 in employment and generated $90,000 in local tax receipts. In 2010, Wayne County realized $5.92 million in travel expenditures.
Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham said tourism in Iowa is big business. The millions of people who come to Iowa each year to attend an event grows Iowa's economy and are "the perfect taxpayers," she said.
"They come to our communities for a short time and leave billions of dollars behind," Durham said. "Traveler spending pays for public services like schools and government programs, yet out-of-state travelers don't utilize these services. Travelers pay taxes so we don't have to."
In 2011, travelers increased their spending on auto transportation, lodging, food service and general retail accounting for the 10.3 percent state-wide increase. The travel industry supports 63,400 Iowa jobs, generated $372.6 million in federal tax revenue, $328.8 in state tax revenue and $101.4 million in local tax revenue.
The study provides preliminary 2011 estimates of employment, payroll income and state and local tax revenue directly generated by these expenditures and the impact tourism had in Iowa.
The study's methodology tracked both state residents and out-of-state visitors traveling in Iowa away from home overnight in paid accommodations, or on any overnight and day trips to places 50 miles or more away from home. Commuting to and from work; travel by those operating an airplane, bus, truck, train or other form of common carrier transportation; military travel on active duty; and travel by students away at school were excluded from the model. The payroll and employment estimates represent impact generated in the private sector and exclude government supported payroll and employment.
The entire report, "The Economic Impact of Travel on Iowa Counties," is available online at traveliowa.com/downloads/countyimpact11.pdf.