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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

DeKalb tourism contributes to record economic growth

Cars and a motorcycle pass a block’s worth of stores in downtown Dekalb. In 2022, tourism in DeKalb County increased over 10%. (Northern Star File Photo)

DeKALB – Visitors, and their wallets, are flocking to DeKalb County for all it has to offer. 

Recent data released by the Illinois Office of Tourism showed that in 2022 tourism spending in DeKalb County increased by more than 10%, resulting in $123.4 million in travel expenditures and generating $2.8 million in local tax revenue (a 3.7% increase).

Additionally, according to data provided by global tourism research firm Tourism Economics, the economic boost supported 722 jobs in the tourism and hospitality industries.

“Tourism is a key economic driver for our state, contributing to the growth of small businesses while generating jobs for our local communities,” said Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Kristin Richards. “Illinois has made unprecedented investments in travel and tourism, and we’re excited to build upon this record-breaking progress as we continue to promote Illinois and support the industry.”

In 2022, Illinois surpassed pre-pandemic figures and experienced record-breaking numbers in hotel revenue ($308 million). Over 110 million people visited Illinois in 2022 – an additional 14 million travelers over 2021. Visitor spending increased to $44 billion, and the overall economic impact resulted in a total of $78 billion – a 30% increase from 2021 ($60 billion). 

“This data validates what the DCCVB (DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau) has seen and heard from our attractions, hotels, restaurants, and event hosts and planners,” said Cortney Strohacker, executive director of the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

This increase in spending helps the DeKalb community as well. 

“Tourism highlights all that DeKalb County offers and, at the same time, brings in dollars from outside of our communities,” said DeKalb County Administrator Brian Gregory. “This (spending) results in millions of dollars of local tax revenue that is used to provide services for our residents.”

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