The Halo Effect Why All Businesses Have a Stake in a Thriving Travel & Hospitality Industry

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 16, 2016 | Go to article overview

The Halo Effect Why All Businesses Have a Stake in a Thriving Travel & Hospitality Industry


As director of the Illinois Office of Tourism, it is my job to lead the state's efforts to attract visitors from across the country and around the world to Illinois. For visitors and residents alike, Illinois offers a bit of everything -- from historical attractions to modern skyscrapers, world-renowned culinary destinations to hometown diners, hiking trails on mountain bluffs to bike paths weaving through idyllic prairie land.

But travel is about so much more than just experiencing all of the wonderful things a place has to offer -- travel and tourism play an important role in the broader prosperity of a state and its local communities.

The Office of Tourism's goal is to improve quality-of-life benefits for all Illinois residents, which is why destination marketing is about more than getting people to visit a place. In fact, the role of a destination marketing organization is to amplify the voices of many. So, let's take a look at why this industry is so vital to the success of Illinois as a state.

Travel and tourism is a very real economic driver; it's essential to a competitive local economy. The benefits of travel are part of a so-called "halo effect." Consider this: Tourism creates job opportunities at all levels of employment, from hourly workers to management. Whether it's for a business trip, a convention, or visiting friends and family, when visitors come here they spend money. When they buy goods and services, they pay taxes. This provides a direct economic impact to hotels, attractions, cultural institutions -- as well as an indirect impact (or halo effect) to restaurants, taxi drivers, florists and others you might not suspect who rely on the tourism industry for business growth. This economic impact is what creates benefits and opportunities for Illinois residents, and we have the figures to prove it.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, tourism and hospitality is one of America's largest industries, generating $2.1 trillion in economic output from domestic and international travelers in 2015. Over 15 million jobs are supported by travel expenditures -- 8.1 million directly in the travel industry and 6.9 million indirect jobs in other industries. Breaking down the numbers, this means that every one in nine jobs depend on travel and tourism.

In Illinois, an estimated 109 million domestic travelers visited the state in 2015, while state and local tax revenues were up $168. …

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