The number of visitors to Greater Des Moines remained strong in 2011, while the dollars spent by those visitors increased from $1.6 billion in 2010 to $1.8 billion, one quarter of the entire state’s expenditures. The number of hospitality jobs also rose from 16,000 to 16,430 in Polk and Dallas Counties, according to the Economic Impact of Travel Study released by the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Tourism Office.

Polk County travel expenditures were at $1.63 billion in 2011, while Dallas County brought in $157 million, bringing the total expenditures for Greater Des Moines to $1.8 billion, a 12.5% percent increase over 2010. Total expenditures in the state of Iowa were $7.2 billion.

Greater Des Moines travel expenditures were driven, in part, by conventions and sports events secured by the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, the parent organization of the Des Moines Area Sports Commission. In 2011, these events included the NCAA Track & Field Outdoor Championships, World Pork Expo and the American Volkssport Convention.