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New opportunities encourage Iowans to visit state parks, support local tourism this summer

  • 6/11/2020 9:33:00 AM
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The Iowa Tourism Office and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources today announced two new opportunities for Iowans to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of Iowa state parks and also to support tourism attractions and businesses impacted by the coronavirus crisis:

  • A free “digital passport” encourages Iowans to discover new state parks and enjoy the outdoors. State park visitors can sign up online for the passport and receive prizes for visiting multiple parks across the state. The digital passport also will provide discounts to restaurants and tourist attractions near each state park. The passport is a joint promotion between the Iowa Tourism Office and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
  • An online gift card marketplace that offers e-gift cards or pre-paid admission to museums, zoos, aquariums, wineries, breweries, restaurants, hotels, campgrounds and other attractions across Iowa. A program of the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Iowa Tourism Office, the marketplace drives cash flow to attractions and businesses while allowing travelers to visit when the time is right.

“Iowa has a beautiful landscape and our pristine state parks are a vital part of the state’s economy,” Gov. Reynolds said. “The new Gift Card Marketplace and Iowa State Parks Digital Passport programs are great ways to support Iowa’s recreational and cultural gems at a pivotal time, as we reopen Iowa’s economy, celebrate the 100th anniversary of state parks, and head into the peak summer months for tourism.”

Gift Card Marketplace offers advance admission and gift cards to tourism attractions statewide. Gift cards, delivered digitally, may be purchased at explore.traveliowa.com/giftcards

“For travelers, this marketplace is a low-cost way to support their favorite Iowa attractions and businesses while planning to visit whenever they are ready,” said Debi Durham, Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Finance Authority director. “For our tourism industry, it’s a much-needed boost for recovery and growth.”

The Iowa State Parks Digital Passport encourages visitors to explore Iowa’s state parks and forests during their centennial year. For each park visit, travelers earn a digital stamp in the Passport app that qualifies them for prizes such as t-shirts and enters them in a grand prize drawing for a two-night stay at Honey Creek Resort in Moravia. Sign up for the passport at explore.traveliowa.com/PARKS via email or text PARKS to 515-531-5995. 

“This digital passport provides us with a new tool to share our wonderful state parks, especially during our centennial year,” said DNR Director Kayla Lyon. “We challenge people to venture out to new-to-them state parks and discover the multiple opportunities our parks offer to safely explore the outdoors.” 

To learn more about Iowa state parks, visit www.iowadnr.gov and for information on the 100th anniversary of state parks, visit www.iowadnr.gov/parks2020

Tourism in Iowa generates nearly $9 billion in expenditures and $517.5 million in state taxes, while employing 70,200 people statewide. The Iowa Tourism Office is part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. For more information, visit traveliowa.com.

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