If you build it, they will come!

Catch Des Moines' CEO, Greg Edwards

DES MOINES - According to new research by Longwoods International, commissioned by Catch Des Moines, the Greater Des Moines region welcomed 13.7 million visitors in 2016, representing a new record for Iowa's capitol city.

That number was up almost 5% (or roughly 600,000 visitors) from 2015, and overnight trips to Greater Des Moines are up nearly 10% over the past five years. All told, visitor spending accounted for a record $838M in spending in 2016, with lodging accounting for the largest chunk of overnight spending (followed by food and beverage) and retail being the primary expenditure for day trips.

Des Moines continues to over-index relative to the national average in activity areas such as brewery visits, festivals/fairs, concerts, museums and sports. This aligns with the interests of the coveted Millennial and Gen X travel segments, as evidenced by the 6% visitation increase from 2015 in the 18-44 age group. 

"Des Moines has always had the perception of being a great place to raise a family, but people are finding that it's a great place to visit as well," said Greg Edwards, President and CEO of Catch Des Moines. "The population boom and influx of young professionals has meant more restaurants, retail, attractions and conventions; and more visiting friends and family who discover Des Moines and spread the word."

If you build it, they will come - The top cities that Des Moines drew from for overnight trips were Cedar Rapids/Waterloo/Dubuque, Kansas City, Omaha, Chicago and Minneapolis.

For more information go to catchdesmoines.com.

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