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Rockford Tourism Spending Down, Number of Visitors Up in 2013

Susan Stephens

Visitors to Winnebago County spent more than $319 million dollars last year at hotels, restaurants and other local businesses. According to a news release from the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, that's down slightly from 2012.

Tourism officials say there were 6.7 million visitors in the region during 2013, up slightly from the year before.

Individual events in the region grew, but officials say total attendance for festivals and events dropped due to the cancelation of On the Waterfront and Rockford Airfest.

2013 Highlights

The new “Stroll on State” holiday event brought more than 30,000 to downtown Rockford in November.

The region hosted its first national lacrosse tournament that attracted more than 3,000 players, coaches and in June. The tournament has committed to return for three more years (2014-2016).

Rock Valley College hosted a new robotics competition, drawing 400 students from 20 robotics teams in the Midwest.  

Looking Ahead

Hotel occupancy is up 12.8 percent to 59.6 percent countywide, for 2014 through June. That's compared with 52.8 percent at the same time last year. Corresponding hotel revenue is up 15 percent year over year.

The Kenneth & Phyllis Laurent House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, held a grand opening on June 6. The museum expects 10,000 visitors annually.

Economic impact figures are calculated by D.K. Shifflet and Associates and the Illinois Office of Tourism, a state agency. Attendance figures are self-reported to RACVB by area sites/attraction managers and event producers.

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