Illinois doles out $1.8M to 17 projects to promote tourism

BROOKFIELD, IL - JULY 18: Hudson, a polar bear, cools down by playing with a block of ice during a swim in his enclosure at Brookfield Zoo on July 18, 2013 in Brookfield, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty Images

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has awarded $1.8 million in grants to increase Prairie State tourism.

The Office of Tourism announced the 17 recipients of two different grants, saying tourism produced more than $3 billion in tax revenue for the state and local communities last year.

The Tourism Attraction Grant program helps develop or enhance tourism attractions to boost visitation and overnight stays in Illinois. There were 13 recipients sharing $1.4 million. Officials say there were four times as many applications for this grant as there was available funding.

Just over $400,000 went to four applicants for the Tourism Private Sector Grant program. The money helps attract major new events to the state or helps enhance existing ones.

Illinois Tourism Grant Recipients by WGN Web Desk:

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