State says Ohio tourism economy grew by $2B in '11

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- State officials say Ohio's tourism industry sales grew by $2 billion last year, reaching a total of $40 billion.

Tourism Director Amir Eylon (ah-MEER' EYE'-lohn) says that's a sign that tourism in Ohio has returned to the level it was at before the recession.

His office says tourism generated $1.6 billion in state taxes and $1.1 billion in local taxes last year, and the industry added 4,000 jobs compared with 2010.

The director of the Department of Development says state officials are pleased by the benefits of getting millions of visitors and see tourism as an economic driver for the state.