CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) -- Eastern Iowans are doing more leisure travel this summer and across the state, Iowans are getting out and enjoying the state parks, indicating that life is returning to normal.
The Iowa Tourism Office is sweetening the deal for Iowans and tourists alike with weekly drawings for gift cards to fuel road trips and prizes for visiting some of Iowa's attractions using one of the Office's digital passports.
State parks were popular destinations during the pandemic.
Jessica O'Riley is the Tourism Communications Manager for the Iowa Tourism Office.
“The trend has continued for 2021. People are still enjoying being outdoors at those state parks and exploring their outdoor areas," O'Riley said.
At the Eastern Iowa Airport, about 1,900 passengers are flying out everyday for leisure travel.
That's about 75% of the airport's pre-pandemic average number of daily passengers and consistent with a trend across the Midwest for leisure travel.
Pam Hinman is the Director Marketing & Communications for Eastern Iowa Airport.
“The number of people traveling now -- this is a lot of leisure travel - no surprise because it’s the summer. The real test for everyone -- for all airports, all airlines -- is when is business travel going to pick up," Hinman said.
The airport did a general study of key business in the region to determine when that business travel will pick up.
Based on the responses they received from larger employers around Cedar Rapids they expect that to be in the 3rd or 4th quarter.
In the meantime, the airlines, car rental companies and airport restaurants are all looking for help -- yet another indicator of life returning to normal.
The tourism office says tourism in the state is up 7.7% for July 4th holiday weekend.
In 2019, tourism was a $9 billion industry employing about 70,000 people across the state and contributing more than $500 million in state taxes.