Tourism had a more than $45 million impact on Marion County in 2011. That’s according to numbers released this week by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Knoxville Chamber of Commerce Director Larissa Van Donselaar says the county’s tourism opportunities sell themselves. She notes Lake Red Rock offers great recreation as the largest lake in Iowa. Van Donselaar adds that Knoxville is home to what she calls the jewel of Marion County – the Knoxville Raceway.
Marion County ranks 24th out of Iowa’s 99 counties in terms of tourism dollars according to an Iowa Workforce Development study. Pella Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Jill Vandevoort says that Pella recieves a lot of corporate tourism through companies like Vermeer and Pella Corp. That travel helps to raise the amount of tourist dollars in the area. She says that a couple projects that are currently planned will increase tourism even further. Vandevoort says that Marion County is in a unique situation, since both Knoxville and Pella have vastly different tourist attractions in such a close area.