Cedar Rapids Convention & Visitors Bureau Looks Forward to Another Successful Year of Tourism

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A report showing growth for tourism in Linn County is out just as the Convention and Visitors Bureau holds its annual meeting.

"We'll bring our partners here to celebrate with us, our accomplishments over the past year," said Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau's Jennifer Pickar.

The U.S. Travel Association shows Linn County second in the state behind Polk. For Linn County, revenue increased by more than 10 percent from 2010 to 2011. That's almost the exact same rate as overall growth in tourism spending in Iowa. In all, travelers spent about $7.2 billion in the Hawkeye State in 2011.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau is discussing the new numbers and looking forward to 2012 and 2013 during its annual meeting.

"We're also kicking off a local campaign aimed at our residents," Pickar said. "Our campaign is show off CR, we're ready to show off our community and all we have to offer and we want people that go out and attend conferences and meeting and sporting events in other communities across the state and across the nation to consider bringing those events home to Cedar Rapids."

The Convention and Visitors crew said the future of tourism is bright as construction fills the city. They said more projects mean more people making Cedar Rapids their travel destination.

There are two major openings coming soon to the area. The Newbo City Market opens at the end of the October and the Paramount Theater opens in early November. Then, next summer the Convention Center Complex will open to draw in big name performers and big crowds.

Local tourism leaders said the 2011 numbers show the taxes from visitors making a stop in Linn County really help the local economy.

"We know that $31.7 million in taxes went to the state and 12 million came right to Linn County," said Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau's Marilee Fowler. "So we know it's a very important industry for our community. It's a clean industry. It brings people in, they enjoy our community."
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