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Quad Cities Tourism Hit Record Highs Before Record Lows

Visit Quad Cities

Tourism in the Quad Cities was on the upswing before the pandemic hit. Numbers released by the U.S. Travel Association show that in 2019, tourists spent almost $1 billion in Scott and Rock Island Counties combined. 

Year to year, the Quad Cities was growing in the tourism industry, supporting over 8,000 jobs. Dave Herrell, President and CEO of Visit Quad Cities, says he can't say how many of those jobs are still around. 

"Yes, we've seen sizable losses, and that's why it's important that people understand that we are open for business. We want people in the Quad Cities. We can do that in a safe and responsible way."

Herrell says that tourism is a vital part of the Quad Cities economy. Sales tax from tourism totaled $15.8 million in 2019, a $1 million increase from two years prior. That sizable growth means sizable deficits for local budgets now, since the pandemic has gutted local tourism revenue. 

Marianna Bacallao is WVIK Quad Cities NPR's 2020-2021 Fellowship Host/Reporter. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism and served as Editor-in-Chief for the student newspaper, The Cluster.
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