KOKOMO - The Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau says the impact of tourism in Howard County continues to grow. A study commissioned by the bureau shows visitors contributed more than $135 million to the county's economy in 2016, a 15 percent increase over the most recent study in 2013.

The study, conducted by Kentucky-based Certec Inc., shows the spending came from nearly 1.3 million destination and pass-through travelers in 2016. The $97 million in direct spending came mostly from food and beverage, shopping and lodging purchases.

The report also suggests the tourism industry supports more than 1,500 jobs in Howard County, up more than 100 from the 2013 study. Those jobs generated over $27 million in wages for Howard County workers.

Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau Manager Sherry Matlock says the county has "the best of both worlds in terms of attractions."

"Our community has preserved its rich automotive and glass manufacturing history as well as added modern attractions and amenities of importance to today’s travelers," says Matlock. "With a thriving downtown, museum and recreational activities, a growing foodie and craft beer movement, and a variety of accommodations, Kokomo is well-poised to pull down even greater results in the next impact study."