State officials are buying more ad time on Facebook and YouTube to market Iowa nationally as a destination for tourists and upgrading the state-maintained “Travel Iowa” website.
Governor Kim Reynolds says it means adding more video from top tourist spots like the Loess and the Iowa State Fair.
“And for the first time — it’s a little risky, but we’re out there — we’re touting Iowa’s beauty in all four seasons. We just need to own it. From zip lining through the fall foilage of Dubuque — I’ve done that — to skiing down the Seven Oaks in Boone, we’re doing it all,” Reynolds said this afternoon. “We’re showing it all and we’re also investing more in local marketing efforts.”
That includes a new, $1 million state-funded initiative with the Iowa Restaurant Association and Iowa Hotel and Lodging Association to market Iowa as a destination for business travel, festivals and sporting events. Reynolds was the opening speaker at the Iowa Tourism Conference — the first time in two years the conference is being held in-person.
“You know, we have a great story to tell and there’s never, ever been a better time to do so,” Reynolds said.
A video series is being launched called “The Soul of Iowa” with an initial showing tonight in Des Moines. “I don’t want to say too much and spoil the surprise, but you’ll find it showcases the state in an entirely fresh perspective,” Reynolds told the crowd gathered in a hotel conference room.
Reynolds reviewed how the state has used federal pandemic relief funds to make unprecedented investments in tourism. Last month, the governor awarded Iowa’s commercial airports $100 million in federal funding and this month she announced another $100 million in pandemic relief would be handed out as grants to upgrade existing tourist sites and build new ones.
More than 41.3 million adults visited Iowa in 2021, according to the governor.
“Iowa saw the second-highest road trip recovery rate in the nation during the first two months of 2022,” Reynolds said near the end of her remarks. “Road trips in Iowa during that time were 15% higher than they were in 2019.”
And Reynolds said that’s a stat that shows it makes sense to do more to promote winter travel destinations in the state.