Travel & Tourism
Harkin Announces More than $3.2 Million for Improvements to Iowa Airports PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Tuesday, 10 September 2013 15:41

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that the Ankeny Regional and Davenport Municipal airports will receive a total of $3,203,322 from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for runway improvements. Harkin is a senior member of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds these initiatives.

“Transportation is key to Iowa’s economy and this funding will help keep our airports safe and in compliance with FAA standards,” said Harkin.  “Investing in our regional airports means investing in local economic development and job creation. I congratulate the Ankeny and Davenport airports on this competitive funding and I look forward to the improvements it will generate.”

Ankeny Regional Airport – $1,363,457 to relocate a road and allow the full use of Runway 4/22.
Davenport Municipal Airport – $1,839,865 to reconstruct a deteriorating runway.


Governor Quinn Announces Illinois Breaks 100 Million Visitor Mark for the First Time PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Grant Klinzman   
Friday, 06 September 2013 14:48

International Visitors to Illinois Rose 11.8 Percent to a Record in 2012; Tourism Generated $33.5 Billion for State’s Economy Last Year

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Illinois has set an all-time record for tourism, breaking the 100 million visitor mark in 2012. International visitors rose 11.8 percent last year to set another new record and push the total to 101 million. Tourism in Illinois generated an estimated $33.5 billion and 298,700 jobs for the state’s economy, also new high marks for the state.

The record tourism numbers reflect Governor Quinn’s targeted efforts to showcase Illinois as a travel destination. In the past two years, Illinois has launched a new tourism marketing campaign; promoted Illinois tourism on trade missions to Canada, China, Mexico and Brazil; and worked closely with local convention and visitors bureaus across Illinois to trumpet the unique attributes of their regions.

“Our world-class destinations continue to attract more domestic and international visitors to Illinois each year, and this means jobs and economic growth for our state,” Governor Quinn said. “These record-breaking numbers show that the economic engine of tourism in Illinois is firing on all cylinders.”

Total international arrivals in Illinois hit 2,082,200 in 2012, a new record and an 11.8 percent increase over 2011. The news follows this summer’s announcement that Illinois hosted more than 99 million domestic visitors in 2012, a 6.1 percent increase over the record 93.3 million U.S. residents who visited Illinois in 2011.

This also marks the second year in a row that Illinois’ visitor numbers broke records and outpaced the national average of 5.4 percent, highlighting the industry’s vital contributions to Illinois’ economic growth, job creation and tax revenue.

Overseas arrivals reached 1,399,000 last year, up 11.4 percent, and visitors from Canada increased 9.9 percent in 2012. Domestic and international travelers directly spent $33.5 billion in Illinois in 2012, up 5.7 percent from 2011. U.S. travelers’ expenditures grew 5 percent while international travelers’ expenditures increased 14.4 percent. These travel related expenditures generated 298,700 jobs, including full-time and seasonal part-time positions in the state. This reflects a 2.3 percent increase and 6,700 new jobs.

Increasing tourism and its resulting economic impact are part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.

“These impressive numbers demonstrate the vital role the tourism industry plays in the state’s economy,” Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Adam Pollet said. “The double-digit increase of international visitors to Illinois has directly benefited our state by generating tax revenue and creating additional high-quality jobs for people across Illinois.”

“The visitor increases in 2012 illustrate Illinois’ appeal as a premier travel destination for both leisure and business travelers,” Deputy Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Tourism Jen Heolzle said. “We’re driving additional growth in international markets by continuing to develop innovative ways to share unique stories and opportunities for visitors and potential visitors to discover all that the state offers.”

The Illinois Office of Tourism (IOT) directly supports the travel industry by promoting visitor travel both domestically and internationally, to help grow the tourism industry throughout the state. IOT is funded by a percentage of the state’s hotel and motel tax revenue.

Destination information, trip inspiration ideas, the 2013 Illinois Travel Guide and more can be found at or by calling 1-800-2CONNECT.


Governor Quinn Kicks Off Construction of Tri-State Tollway and I-57 Interchange Ramp PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Brooke Anderson   
Friday, 06 September 2013 14:03

Joined by Elected Officials and Labor Leaders to Sign First Girder of Project to Dramatically Improve Access to Chicago Southland, Create Thousands of Jobs

POSEN – Governor Pat Quinn today kicked off construction of a new ramp connecting northbound Interstate 57 to the northbound Tri-State Tollway (I-294). The Governor was joined by local elected officials and labor representatives to sign the first steel girder for the new I-294/I-57 ramp, which is part of the $254 million first phase of an interchange project that is supporting thousands of jobs over two years. The project supports Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and build a 21st century infrastructure that will drive Illinois’ economy forward.

“From day one, I have made economic development in the south suburbs a top priority,” Governor Quinn said. “This interchange project will create thousands of good-paying jobs and generate economic development throughout the region for future generations.”

The first phase of the I-294/I-57 Interchange Project will create access from northbound I-57 to northbound I-294 and southbound I-294 to southbound I-57, including a new interchange at 147th Street. The approximately $185 million phase is scheduled to be completed in 2014, delivering 75 percent of the project’s benefits to the traveling public. It will accommodate 76,000 vehicles per day, provide direct freight access to Chicago’s south suburbs and save drivers $4 million annually in fuel consumption. Tri-State Tollway drivers currently using I-80 to get to I-57 will save 25 travel hours per year using the new interchange. The 147th Street ramps will improve local access, connecting residents to employment opportunities not easily accessible by public transportation.

“Once complete, this interchange will provide the Southland with many benefits for years to come,” U.S. Representative Robin Kelly said. “Motorists will be able to reach more places quicker and easier. Existing businesses will enjoy improved access to highways in all directions. And local municipalities – particularly Harvey, Markham, Dixmoor and Posen – will find themselves more attractive to new developers. That’s a winning combination.”

More than 100 firms, including contractors, subcontractors, consultants and sub-consultants are currently working on Tollway contracts for the project. More than $107 million in construction and engineering contracts have been awarded for this project through July, with 22.2 percent going to disadvantaged business enterprises. The Tollway estimates as many as 110 workers are employed on the job site each day, and Phase One of the project will create or sustain an estimated 3,300 total jobs.

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Pat Quinn, this project is moving forward, creating jobs and the promise of increased economic development and improved access to the Chicago Southland,” Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said. “New construction is creating economic benefits now and, when complete, this interchange will improve freight-to-rail connections, expand this region’s multimodal network and help continue to stimulate our state’s economy for years to come.”

“This project is providing many people with good-paying jobs and will encourage more private development in area communities, which will create even more jobs,” Chicago Laborer’s District Council Business Manager Jim Connolly said. “We applaud Governor Quinn for his leadership on the current capital construction program, and we need to continue to build on this success.”

To start the first phase of this project, the Illinois Tollway has completed the realignment of Dixie Creek and the installation of all 11 piers required for the new ramp connecting northbound I-57 to northbound I-294. The second phase of the project will begin in 2023 and be completed in 2024.

The project is a joint effort of the Illinois Tollway and the Illinois Department of Transportation. It is funded through Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program and the Tollway's Move Illinois capital program.

Over the past nine years, the Tollway has invested approximately $1.6 billion in roadway infrastructure improvements in the Chicago Southland, including rebuilding and widening the south Tri-State Tollway between Illinois Route 394 and 95th Street and construction of the south extension of the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355).


September is “Drive the Great River Road Month” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Kate Hagen   
Friday, 06 September 2013 12:48
Celebratory month part of the national scenic byway’s 75th anniversary

MADISON, Wis. (September 3, 2013) – “Drive the Great River Road Month” is in full swing across the nation, thanks to a proclamation by the Mississippi River Parkway Commission.

The proclamation is part of a year-long celebration of the Great River Road National Scenic Byway’s 75th anniversary in 2013. “Drive the Great River Road Month” is an open invitation to plan a fun and memorable road trip along the nearly 3,000 mile byway that runs through ten states, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee,  Mississippi and Louisiana. It is one of the oldest, longest and most unique scenic byways in North America, offering a gateway to the Mississippi river valley’s great history, the blending of cultures and a host of recreational options to all who journey it for three quarters of a century and counting.

September is the perfect month to experience the Great River Road. From end to end the weather is neither too hot nor too cold, the leaves are changing, the birds are migrating and every state is bustling with festivals and the anticipation of harvest time.

All year long there are magnificent natural wonders, captivating historical sites and unique cultures to experience. Many travelers are also taking interest in the river valley’s agriculture, exploring the area’s delightful orchards, cheese factories, nurseries, tree farms, wineries and farmers markets.

In celebration of “Drive the Great River Road Month,” there is also a sweepstakes going on during the month of September. The “Drive the Great River Road Sweepstakes” kicked off September 1 and will award fans who like the Great River Road on Facebook a chance to win a $750 so they can experience this amazing byway for themselves. More information can be found on and

Open House at the LeClaire Information Center to Celebrate One Year of Operation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Cindy Bruhn   
Friday, 30 August 2013 13:42

The LeClaire Information Center (LIC), operated by the LeClaire Office of Tourism, is located at the corner of Cody Road and Jones Street in downtown LeClaire (122 N. Cody Road). Since the Grand Opening on August 3rd 2012, over 17,500 guests have been welcomed, including tourists, LeClaire residents and potential business owners. Information about LeClaire attractions and businesses, business opportunities, and other items of interest has been shared. Out-of-town visitors quickly recognize LeClaire’s hospitality and appreciate receiving information that isn't available from the Internet or a GPS system. The volunteers enjoy sharing what makes LeClaire a unique community in the Quad Cities area.

On Thursday, September 19th from 4-6pm, the public is invited to an Open House celebrating the center's “First Anniversary.” The event will include light refreshments and the opportunity to discover what the LIC offers residents and tourists. The festivities will conclude with a short program honoring our volunteers at 5:30pm.

Cindy Bruhn, LeClaire Tourism Manager, says, “We are always looking for additional volunteers. Plus, Pleasant Valley High School students (accompanied by a parent) can apply their volunteer hours to the school's “service learning” requirement for graduation.” Training (for students and adults) only takes about an hour and volunteers are able to schedule hours through online scheduling software. Please contact Cindy at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 563-289-4242, ext. 1135, if you are interested in volunteering or would like more information.

Please join us for the Open House or stop in and visit us any time. The LIC is open from 10am – 4pm Monday – Saturday, Noon-4pm on Sunday.


LeClaire Information Center Open House & Volunteer Recognition

122 N. Cody Road

Thursday, September 19, 2013, 4-6pm

Volunteer Recognition, 5:30pm 


LeClaire, Iowa is located at a point where the Mississippi River makes a sharp bend to the southwest. LeClaire's historic bond with the river and the bold men who tamed the Upper Rapids is still visible in the homes and buildings they left behind. On May 7, 1979, their homes were recognized as part of the nine-block Cody Road Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places. LeClaire’s other attractions include the Buffalo Bill Museum/Lone Star Stern Wheeler, Mississippi River Distilling Co., and Antique Archaeology, home of the American Pickers.

For more information on LeClaire visit

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