The number of visitors to Greater Des Moines remained strong in 2010, while the dollars spent by those visitors increased to $1.6 billion, one quarter of the entire state’s expenditures.

Throughout the year, Greater Des Moines hosted more than 2.9 million visitors who spent nearly $1.6 billion between Polk and Dallas counties, according to the Economic Impact of Travel Study released by the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Iowa Tourism Office.

“We anticipated the number of visitors to remain strong, based off of the number of event bookings we had throughout 2010,” said Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau (GDMCVB) President/CEO Greg Edwards. “The increase in expenditures is good news for the Metro’s hospitality professionals – made up of 16,000 hospitality jobs.”

Polk County travel expenditures were at $1.5 billion in 2010, while Dallas County brought in $141 million, bringing the total expenditures for Greater Des Moines to $1.6 billion, an 8.5 percent increase over 2009. Total expenditures in the state of Iowa were $6.6 billion.

Greater Des Moines travel expenditures were driven, in part, by conventions and sports events secured by the GDMCVB and the Des Moines Area Sports Commission (DMASC), under the umbrella of the GDMCVB. In 2010, these events included the USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships, World Pork Expo and the Gold Wing Road Riders Association Wing Ding 32.