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The Impact of Tourism in the Corridor

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--The push to lure visitors into Iowa this spring is now in full force.

This week, the state's tourism office announced an advertising campaign that will help make it happen.

They are spending 1.5 million on ads to inspire travelers from places like Chicago and Kansas to visit Iowa.

Business at village meat market and cafe is up and down but a much better forecast is ahead.

"I mean you can really feel it picking up. You know after the flood and getting a lot of out of state folks coming in so pretty jazzed. We are getting a lot of tourists, said owner Lou Thompson.

She's not the only one who's jazzed up.

The Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is also feeling the excitement.

"They are shopping. They are obviously putting gas in their vehicles. They are flying in. So what it does in our community is generate outside new money coming in, said bureau President and CEO, Marilee Fowler.

"It's awesome. I mean we send them to across the bridge. We send them to the new brewery, to Sykora's to Ernies. They take their time and go to the new businesses we have here, said Thompson.

According to the bureau's 2012 to 2013 annual report, visitors to Linn County spent more than 731 million dollars in 2012.

State tax generated from visitors to Linn County was $29.1 million and local tax $10.6 million

Marilee fowler says it's money that goes to helping county residents.

"There are 6,000 jobs in our county that are tourism related. That money trickles down this community in all the directions, she said.

Thompson is hoping some of that money finds its way to village meat market

"It's good for all of us. And we're right around the street from the Tourism Bureau so it's a win win for us down here, she said.

Johnson County is also a tourist destination.

Visitors spent more than 375 million dollars in 2012 there.

This led to 3,400 tourism related jobs.
 
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