ALTOONA, Iowa- At the annual Iowa Tourism Conference for 2019, the charge was not just to sell people to visit Iowa, but to stay.
Jacque Matsen, Marketing and Communications Director for the Iowa Development Authority, told the group that if they can get people to visit Iowa, there’s a higher chance they would consider moving here.
“They top of mind think of us as a place that grows a lot of crops and has a lot of corn, and is very rural,” said Matsen. “They don’t realize a lot of the great attributes we have as a state.”
Matsen said Iowa does not have mountains or oceans, but rather we have calm open areas, and move at a slower pace.
“When people are looking for a new place to live, they’re looking at cost of living they’re looking at economic vibrancy,” said Matsen. “They’re looking for quality of life, natural landscapes, we have all those things.”
One thing surveys showed of people not from Iowa, they think the state is mainly just corn. They don’t expect any culture or diversity.
“People come here from out of state on a first time visit to Iowa they are surprisingly happy and shocked about what they find in Iowa, especially in Des Moines,” said Greg Edwards, CEO with Catch Des Moines. “People find our great restaurants, our corporate base we have in Des Moines, all the great attractions and things to do.”
The conference drew people in from every corner of Iowa. From the Lincoln Hotel, in Lowden, in eastern Iowa, to the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad, all the way to the Iowa Great Lakes.
“It’s great for me to able to come to the Iowa Tourism Conference for the educational opportunities, and also for the networking opportunities, with other attractions and other destinations,” said Rebecca Peters, Okoboji Tourism Director. “I can learn what they are doing, and we can figure out ways we can partner together to get more people to come to our community.”
Tourism leaders were to meet with Iowa legislators on Wednesday night. The Conference concludes on Friday.
If you would like to check out Iowa Tourism, click here.