BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Visitors are returning to hotels in the area for work, leisure, and travel and it’s having an impact on the local economy.

Monday night in the first reading of the next fiscal year’s budget, Bloomington city staff projected a 94% increase in the hotel and motel tax revenue.

Construction jobs in the area thanks to expansions at companies like Rivian and Ferrero as well as the return of events that attract out of towners are helping Bloomington’s hotels return to pre pandemic numbers.

The city projects $1.75 million projected in hotel sales tax revenue for the city of Bloomington in fiscal year 2023. Funds collected from hotel stays go into the city’s general fund. The general fund pays for service equipment, materials and staff contracts just to name a few.

“Those are funds we use to fund critical services throughout our community, things people come to rely on everyday,” said deputy city manager Billy Tyus.

Tyus said more people working in the area on construction as well as the hiring at major companies sets up hotels for success.

“They’re also bringing in people to visit and tour, they’re staying in our hotels as well,” Tyus said.

Tyus said the busy hotels say a lot about how people view the Bloomington-Normal community.

“The fact that people are staying at our hotels and filling our hotels is an indicator of just where we are positioned as a community. It says people see us and people want to be here,” Tyus said.

It’s not just work; the return of events bringing in out of towners for the weekend needing a place to stay too.

“Certainly within the last 4-6 months, we’re getting a little bit closer to where we were in 2019 before the pandemic hit,” said Matt Hawkins at Visit BN.

Hawkins the Director of Sports and Market Development at the area’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau said the IHSA dance competition over the next two weekends will bring thousands of people to Bloomington-Normal.

“With both events combined, roughly about $1.5 million in economic impact, so we’re certainly excited for those events,” Hawkins said.

The city’s budget numbers aren’t finalized but will be voted on in the coming months.