Tourism impact continues upward trend in Wapello County


Ottumwa, Iowa – Oct. 19, 2014 – Two critical measures of tourism show growth in travel expenditures in Wapello County.

The US Travel Association recently released its annual report, the Economic Impact of Travel on Iowa Counties. According to the report, travelers spent $80.6 million in Wapello County during calendar year 2013. Spending was $80.29 million during 2012.

While this increase was smaller than expected, it was better than the decreases realized by counties with cities comparable to Ottumwa. Clinton County’s county seat is Clinton. The eastern Iowa county saw a 2.58 percent decrease in 2013. Mason City is Cerro Gordo County’s county seat. That north Iowa county’s spending decreased by 1.99 percent between 2012 and 2013.

Earlier in the year, the City of Ottumwa learned that for second year in a row, hotel/motel tax collections hit a record high. On June 30 at the conclusion of fiscal year 2014, the City of Ottumwa brought in $388,423.63. That means more than $5.5 million was spent at Ottumwa hotels during that 12-month period. Hotel/motel tax collections were $384,077 (the prior record) at the end of fiscal year 2013.

This week eight local tourism representatives will participate in the annual Iowa Tourism Conference, Oct. 22-24, in Council Bluffs. These representatives include Nate Al-Khanfar of the Quality Inn & Suites; Holly Berg, American Gothic House Center; Megan Borowski, Hampton Inn; Mark Eckman, Ottumwa Area Convention & Visitors Bureau; Larry Gawronski, Bridge View Center; Sara Gerot, Hotel Ottumwa and AmericInn of Ottumwa; Greg Kenning, Wapello County Board of Supervisors; and Tim Schwartz, Hotel Ottumwa and AmericInn of Ottumwa. Not to mention, two representatives will attend from the Fairfield Iowa Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Typically, only one or two Wapello County representatives attend the state tourism conference. This greater than normal participation is due to the preparations both Ottumwa and Fairfield are making in advance of hosting the conference in 2015. Activities are planned to build interest and anticipation among this year’s conference participants for next year’s convention.