We pass popular tourist sites like Richardson Adventure Farm every day; we may not even think of how it supports our community. But Richardson Adventure Farm and others like The Quarry Cable Park, Woodstock Square, Raue Center for the Arts and the Illinois Railway Museum are the backbone of McHenry County. These places define our community, provide our families with jobs and have given us—and milions of visitors a lifetime of memories.
Travel matters, and it improves McHenry County in ways that have a wide-reaching impact on McHenry County residents. Travel supports 1,720 jobs in McHenry County, and it also has an impact that we do not always see: travel can strengthen families, foster hometown pride and build bridges that connect us with one another.
Travel Matters to America
At the national level, travel is critical to the U.S. economy and American jobs. As a leader in workforce development and career advancement–travel creates and supports 15.7 million jobs across the U.S.–making it the seventh-largest private sector employer. In 2018, travelers spending generated $171 billion in total tax revenue, including $78.6 billion in state and local revenue. That $78.6 billion can pay for a host of critical resources: it’s more than enough to pay all state and local police and firefighters or the more than one million public high school teachers.
Travel is powerful for cities and states and McHenry County is no exception. In 2017, McHenry County saw increases in visitor spending equaling $246.39 million, which equates to $8.15 million in taxes. These increases have continued to grow over the past 8 years according to the U.S. Travel Association.
Think back to your first job. Maybe you worked at Port Edward Restaurant, or maybe your kids work there now. For many–one third of Americans to be exact–travel is the front door to a promising career. Americans whose first job in travel, have an average career salary of $81,900, and two in 5 of those whose first job was in travel are now earning more than $100,000.
Those are only a few reasons why it’s so important to keep welcoming visitors to McHenry County—and why our industry is elevating the message of “Travel Matters” during National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) May 5-11. We encourage you to join us in observing NTTW this year and celebrate all that travel does for DESTINATION, and for our country as a whole.
Here are a few ways to get involved:
For more great ideas and resources, check out this toolkit from U.S. Travel Association.
This year’s NTTW is more than just another campaign. It’s a movement that positions the travel industry as a primary driver in the U.S. economy and as an important part of our daily lives in McHenry County, IL.