June 24, 2015 – Nick Cusick of the Muscatine County Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that in 2013, tourists spent $76,950,000 in Muscatine County and generated $91,000 in local tax receipts. The Muscatine tourism industry employed 670 in the county.
Formerly a part of Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Muscatine Convention and Visitors Bureau was reorganized by the City of Muscatine in 2013 to become an independent organization with an 18-member board. Twenty-five percent of Muscatine hotel/motel tax is dedicated to the bureau. For the first time, this allowed for a full-time staff member. On June 8th of this year the board voted to dissolve the corporation and move toward becoming a department of the city of Muscatine, but it will function the same as it has for the past two years but with a seven-member advisory board.
Mr. Cusick said it was record-high fiscal year for hotel/motel tax with over $415,000 collected. This fiscal year showed a record-high first quarter of over $123,000. In May 2015, the bureau launched its digital marketing/retargeting campaign with the release of its new brand: Made In Muscatine. The premise of brand was to celebrate Muscatine’s industrial & entrepreneurial past and present while showing potential visitors that experiences, adventures, and memories are “made” in Muscatine.
Joe Taylor of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau (QCCVB) stated the QCCVB is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The bureau is governed by a board of directors with seven public sector member and seven private sector members. It is accredited by Destination Marketing Association International, and funding for the bureau comes from hotel taxes from each municipality, state grants from Illinois and Iowa, and partnerships with local businesses.
In 2013, tourists in the Quad Cities spent $800 million on goods and services. The tourism industry employed over 8,300 employees and those employees earned $132 million in wages. Tourists generated $11 million in direct tax revenue.
Mr. Taylor said the Mississippi River Trail and American Discovery Trail development continues to be supported by the bureau. The John Deere Classic celebrates its 45th year in the Quad Cities with Jordon Spieth defending his title. RAGBRAI XLIII ends in Davenport on July 25, on the same day as the annual Quad-City Times Bix 7. Next year, the Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament will take place in the Quad Cities 2016-2017.