SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has awarded $1.8 million in grants to increase Prairie State tourism.

The Office of Tourism announced the 17 recipients of two different grants , saying tourism produced more than $3 billion in tax revenue for the state and local communities last year.

READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Breezy On Tuesday

The Tourism Attraction Grant program helps develop or enhance tourism attractions to boost visitation and overnight stays in Illinois. There were 13 recipients sharing $1.4 million. Officials say there were four times as many applications for this grant as there was available funding.

READ MORE: Proposed Laws Would Improve Privacy Protections For Sex Crime Victims In Illinois

Just over $400,000 went to four applicants for the Tourism Private Sector Grant program. The money helps attract major new events to the state or helps enhance existing ones.

MORE NEWS: Suburban Man Says Unlike Others, He's Had Plenty Of Contact With IDES -- But It's Been Of No Help

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.