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Clear Lake 4th  2015-07-02

Four-year-olds Ryann, right, and Hadley Miles of Omaha chase after butterflies at the Clear Lake State Park beach in July 2015. 

The Iowa Tourism Office released new data showing tourism-related expenditures in the state reached $8.5 billion in 2017.

That's a 3.3 percent increase over 2016, which was also felt in North Iowa.  

Visit Mason City said in a news release that travel-generated expenditures in Cerro Gordo County totaled $201.78 million in 2017, up 2.8 percent compared to 2016. 

Additional data from “The Economic Impact of Travel on Iowa Counties” shows travel-generated tax receipts in Cerro Gordo County at a record $3.51 million. Tourism in Iowa also supports more than 1,550 people in Cerro Gordo County.

Serving as the tourism sales force for Cerro Gordo County, Visit Mason City and Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce’s joint efforts progressively market and promote the county as a multi-day tourism destination.

“Tourism is serious business,” Lindsey James, executive director of Visit Mason City, said in a statement. “These are outside dollars coming into our communities and supporting local businesses and the local economy.”

Libby Hohn, director of tourism at the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, said local water quality efforts and local events are bringing people to Clear Lake "nearly every weekend of the year."

“We are planning on a strong tourism year next year as we celebrate major anniversaries of some of our notable annual events, and because of the growth of our vacation rental market," Hohn said in a statement. 

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