Visitor Numbers Remain Strong in Rockford Region

7.6 million guests visited area sites, attractions and events in 2015.

ROCKFORD - Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau announced strong attendance numbers for sites, attractions and events in Winnebago County in 2015.

The region's tourism attractions and events welcomed 7,662,205 guests in 2015, up from 7,604,578 guests in 2014, an increase of 57,627 people over the prior year. 

Individual event attendance in the region grew by 21,216 to a total of 950,058 (event attendance was reported at 928,842 in 2014). That growth is thanks in part to Rockford AirFest, Winnebago County Fair, Stroll on State, Festival of Lights and Old Settlers Days all seeing an increase in numbers. 

"Each year, we see that more and more people are experiencing the Rockford region," said Josh Albrecht, RACVB Director of Marketing & Public Affairs. "What is really amazing is that our overall attendance numbers are able to rise even as circumstances such as bad weather can affect attendance levels." 

Rockford area sites and attractions saw strong numbers as well in 2015. Anderson Japanese Gardens set an attendance record with 49,272 guests. In addition, the Ski Broncs Waterski Show Team performances saw a substantial increase from 28,874 in 2014 to 56,275 in 2015. 

"The quality of our sites and attractions is such an amazing calling card for our region," Albrecht said. "The fact that Anderson Japanese Gardens, Ski Broncs, Burpee Museum of Natural History and Midway Village Museum all improved on their attendance numbers shows that leisure travelers are looking to Rockford more and more." 

For the second year in a row, attendance numbers have hit the 7.6 million mark in the Rockford region and as more events and activities come on line, RACVB expects those numbers to continue climbing.  

Sports tourism will continue to rise as the UW Health Sports Factory opened June 1. With 15 tournaments booked already in 2016.


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