Ahhh…summer is almost here!  For many families, that means it’s time to hit the road…

At the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, we work hard to bring visitors to our area all year long, including during the busy summer travel season.

Travel matters to Rockford, to Northern Illinois and to the state. “Travel Matters” is the theme of this year’s National Travel & Tourism Week, May 5-11.  Established in 1983 by President Reagan, National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) is the annual salute to travel in America.

Here are the top five reasons travel matters!

Travel matters to the economy.

Travel generated $2.5 trillion for the U.S. economy in 2018.  In Illinois, traveler spending generated nearly $40 billion in revenue across all industries, including pumping dollars into our restaurants, stores, hotels and local attractions. Visitors spend more than $384 million each year in Winnebago County.

Travel Matters to new experiences.

Our attractions, restaurants, shops, parks, gardens, entertainment venues and more—and the people who make them possible—are top-notch and draw tourists from near and far, year after year.  From our first-class sports facilities like the UW Health Sports Factory to the spectacular Coronado Theatre, from the one-of-a-kind Burpee Museum to the exciting Ice Hogs hockey games, Rockford offers new experiences time and again! AND – as residents, we all get to enjoy these great places and experiences thanks, in part, to the visitors who financially support them as guests and customers.

Travel matters to our jobs.

Admittedly, my job depends on tourism—but so do the jobs of thousands of hotel workers, restaurant employees, and those working for various entertainment venues in our region. Travel put 15.7 million people to work in the U.S. in 2018—that’s one in 10 American jobs, making travel the seventh largest employer in the private sector. Locally, more than 3,000 of our neighbors go to work every day at jobs generated by visitor spending.

Travel matters to happiness.

Americans are increasingly realizing the value of their vacation time, taking an average of 17.2 days of vacation each year. Yet less than half of that time is used to travel—despite its clear benefits for health.  Those who take all or most of their vacation time to travel report higher rates of happiness with physical health and well-being compared to those who don’t travel as much.

Travel matters to families.

Travel helps families connect, creating everlasting memories and develops a lifelong bond. When surveyed, most children (61%) say the best way to spend quality time with parents is on vacation. At their core, adults know this: 62 percent of adults say that their earliest, most vivid memories are of family vacations taken between the ages of five and 10.

We know travel has a positive impact on our lives through creating memories and improving mental and physical health, but it also has a huge impact on our state’s economy and creating jobs. That’s why travel matters!

If you’re interested in traveling locally, as a visitor in your own back yard, check out gorockford.com. If you want to getaway within Illinois, plan your trip at enjoyIllinois.com.

Travel on,

John Groh
RACVB President/CEO