Iowa tourism associations, legislators discuss 2022 appropriations


The Iowa Travel Industry Partners (iTIP) association discussed recent tourism appropriations and 2023 goals with state legislators on Jan. 17.

Tourism saw a record-breaking $50.7 million in appropriations in 2022 in Iowa, according to a news release from the association. More than $30.5 million of the funding will create new tourism resources and bolster current programming. iTIP will ensure those appropriations are deployed appropriately and maintained in the 2024 fiscal year budget.

The sector is one of the fastest growing industries in Iowa.

The Tourism Legislative Night focused on the importance of tourism to Iowa’s economy. Bipartisan members of the Iowa Senate and House of Representatives attended the event. iTIP hosted the event in partnership with multiple statewide tourism associations and organizations.

According to a report on the Economic Impact of Tourism on Iowa, 2021 travelers in Iowa generated $9.4 billion in revenue. Tourists supported more than 65,000 jobs and generated a labor income of $2.2 billion throughout the state. 

In Iowa, these dollars generated more than $1 billion in state and local tax revenue.

“No one in Iowa can say, ‘there is nothing to do here’. Everywhere you look, tourism in Iowa is thriving,” iTIP Executive Director Chelsea Lerud said in a news release. “During the 2022 Legislative Session, Iowa’s elected officials passed historic programming that allowed Iowans to showcase the state. Each of these programs have contributed to the growth of our state and has helped to attract and retain Iowans.”

Iowa’s travel and hospitality industry is an economic revenue generator for Iowa’s economy. A top iTIP priority in 2023 is supporting the enactment of IWILL (Iowa Land and Legacy) and water quality initiatives that include funding for tourism and quality of life components.

The association is also supporting Iowa’s current earliest school start date of August 23 to allow the industry to generate revenue to pay for education. In 2021, tourism generated $1.0 billion in state and local tax revenues.