Freeport – Stephenson County is participating in National Travel & Tourism Week by highlighting safe events, activities and attractions for both our local and regional audiences from May 2-8. National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) is the annual celebration of the travel industry’s critical role in driving economic recovery efforts and building the path forward through the theme, “Power of Travel.”
Tourism was one of the hardest hit industries from the COVID-19 pandemic with a loss of 34 percent of travel-supported jobs in the US in 2020. Up until last year, the Power of Travel has been a consistent driver of Freeport and Stephenson County’s economy and workforce. In the last year, Stephenson County saw a 40 percent reduction in hotel/motel tax receipts due to closures and health concerns as well as dramatic decreases in food and beverage tax and tourism-supported jobs such as hotel management, food service and retail small business.
“While we faced extraordinary challenges in the past year, the travel industry has united like never before, engaged our communities, and is offering new and modified services to support and restore all sectors of local business and tourism attractions. Freeport and Stephenson County have so much to offer local and regional visitors and it is time to safely re-engage in the places and spaces that make our area extraordinary,” said Greater Freeport Partnership Brand Director Nicole Haas. “The Greater Freeport Partnership is excited to share the full power of the travel industry and the strength and spirit of Freeport and Stephenson County for all visitors this season.” Attractions and tourism opportunities can be found at greaterfreeport.com/visit
Supporting travel provides an opportunity to turn the page to a new chapter in and celebrate the collective power of travel by spotlighting the innumerable ways local travel will drive recovery, bring communities together again, and help define our path forward.
This rebound is already being seen locally. In the month of April, weekly hotel occupancy was over 60 percent (all seven days a week), and weekend hotel occupancy was nearly 70 percent (Friday and Saturday only). Additionally the inaugural Pretzel Fest celebration on April 24 re-introduced safe, family-friendly events to Downtown Freeport. These figures spark hope as the best in seasonal travel is yet to come with our future enjoyable weather months.
From outdoor entertainment to locally owned shops and restaurants, the travel and tourism industry contributes immensely to the local economy and the unique character of Freeport & Stephenson County. Continue to watch the Partnership’s social media channels for Daycation and Staycation itineraries that will be released each day May 3-8.
The Greater Freeport Partnership is a collaboration of business, community, visitor and economic development services with the mission to drive economic growth for Freeport and Stephenson County