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.

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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.

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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.

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