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Tourism boost in Pike County

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Jellystone Park in Pittsfield, Illinois Jellystone Park in Pittsfield, Illinois
PIKE COUNTY, Ill. (WGEM) -

New state tourism numbers show more people are visiting Pike County, Illinois, and spending more money.

Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park in Pittsfield has been booked full almost every weekend this summer. It's just one example of record number of tourists in the county in the last two years.

Lasharne Owens brought her family all the way from Nashville, Tennessee to enjoy a week at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park before her two boys head back to school.

"It's been really fun," Owens said. "This is our first time because we just bought a camper a couple of weeks ago. It was just something to try and make memories with the kids."

They're not the only family visiting Pike county. New numbers show tourists spend over $27-million in the county just last year. Kaye Iftner with the Pike County Chamber of Commerce said it comes down advertising what the county has to offer.

"We're very excited about the direction we are going," Iftner said. "We've spent a lot of time and a lot of people who work hard to promote our tourism."

Numbers show that Jellystone Park has seen record numbers in 2016 and officials would like to continue that trend going forward.

"At the chamber, we have hospitality training that we offer to places around town, the tourism entities, the convenient stores, any business really that can be a front door to the people coming to the county," Iftner added.

Iftner said they've also seen record numbers at events like the civil war re-enactment earlier this year, proving that Pike County is more than a deer hunter's paradise.

"We've been trying to promote our lodges year-round to capture some of those tourism dollars in the spring and summer as well," Iftner said.

For The Owens family, it's time and money well spent.

"There seems to be a lot to do for the kids," Owens said. "The various playgrounds, the beach site here, the boys did some fishing yesterday. there just seems to have a lot to offer."
 

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