Tourism Jobs At Risk From Illinois Budget Woes

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SPRINGFIELD----As Illinois continues without a state budget, the state's Council of Convention and Visitors Bureaus says the lack of a budget is causing some major tourism problems.

The council contends that ongoing budget uncertainty, along with marketing budget cuts, is putting Illinois at risk of losing thousands of tourism jobs.

A report in the Springfield State Journal-Register says a study released Monday shows a 20 percent cut from $63.8 million for tourism marketing in fiscal 2014 would cost the state $2.3 billion in visitor spending.

Another element at risk: 4,600 jobs and nearly $200 million in taxes over four years. That estimate is based on 2014 tourism visits and spending. According to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, tourism spending hit a record $36.3 billion in 2014 with 109.4 visitors. Tourism officials point to budget woes and reduced hours at some sites for a drop in state historic site visits in 2015.

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