Representatives from the Waterloo and Cedar Falls Visitors Bureaus returned home from the Iowa Tourism Conference, held in Altoona, energized with great new ideas and a couple of the industry’s coveted awards.
The Cedar Valley Trail System was honored as the state’s Tourism Attraction of the Year and the Waterloo and Cedar Falls Visitor Guide won the Outstanding Tourism Publication award. Competition was stiff with 20 nominations submitted in the attractions category and 11 nominations in the publications category.
Notable elements of the attraction nomination included the multi-jurisdictional nature of the trails, the Prairie Pathways signage, activities of the Cedar Trails Patrol, and the exceptional efforts made to promote the attraction. The publications nomination called out the quality and extensive distribution of the guide as well as the unique partnership of the two Visitors Bureaus; Courier Communications, for ad sales, design and layout of the piece; and of artists Gary Kelley and Paco Rosic to create the artwork for the cover. Kelley and Rosic are currently working on a new creation for the 2013 visitor guide cover.
Tourism is a $7.2 billion industry in Iowa, employing 63,400 people statewide and generating more than $328.8 million in state taxes. In Black Hawk County alone, visitors spent $311.31 million dollars
Waterloo will host next year’s conference at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.