Tourists spent more than $4 billion in Iowa last year, up 5.4 percent from the year before, a growth rate that exceeds the national average, according to the Iowa Division of Tourism.
"Nearly 19 million people visit Iowa each year," Nancy Landess, Tourism Division administrator, said in a weekend speech at the Iowa Tourism Conference in Ames. "Many of those visitors are from out-of-state, while some travelers are actually Iowans who are exploring their home state.
''These people spend money in Iowa on food, fuel, lodging and entertainment, providing a substantial economic boon for the state,'' she added.
Much of tourism success reflects back on Storm Lake, which continues to tout its tourism, even when the community's greatest resource is at extremely low levels.
Melanie Miller, director of the Storm Lake Chamber of Commerce, said tourism has been strong over the past year, with a full campground throughout the summer and strong support of the local motels. She added that Buena Vista University has had a successful year with its conventions and conferences.
"We've had interest in the wind generators - it has caused quite a stir with visitors," Miller said, with the Chamber producing some 17,000 brochures promoting it.
Read the rest of this article in the 10/26 Pilot Tribune.