2016 ILLINOIS GOVERNOR’S CONFERENCE AWARDED INDUSTRY INNOVATORS, HIGHLIGHTED ECONOMIC INDICATORS THAT POINT TO CONTINUED GROWTH IN ILLINOIS’ TOURISM INDUSTRY

Monday, March 28, 2016
 
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POSTED BY Illinois Governor's Conference on Travel & Tourism
Posted in Blog News

SPRINGFIELD Illinois travel professionals and national tourism industry leaders gathered in Springfield March 21 through March 23 for the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism. The annual conference brings together state leaders, travel experts and other special guests to showcase innovative ideas for promoting travel.

Special guests at this year’s conference included Illinois Governor, Bruce Rauner, and Illinois Department of Commerce Director, Jim Schultz. In addition, U.S. Travel Association President & CEO, Roger Dow, and Brand USA President & CEO, Christopher L. Thompson presented updates on the state of the national travel industry. Dow and Thompson announced preliminary 2015 economic indicators that point to continued growth in the state’s tourism industry.

According to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Travel Association, travel spending in Illinois increased by 2.1% in 2015 to $37.1 billion. This spending directly generated $6.9 billion in tax revenue for the state, an increase of 5.6% over 2014. Most notably, this spending directly supported more than 314,400 Illinois jobs, a 2.7% increase from 2014, and a significantly higher growth rate than Illinois’ total private industry employment, which grew by 1.5%

The conference kicked off with a special Illinois VolunTourism event. More than 50 participants gathered on Sunday, March 20, to help beautify the Illinois War Memorials at Oak Ridge Cemetery. In addition, Illinois Office of Tourism Director Cory Jobe highlighted domestic and international marketing initiatives from the past year in the annual “State of the State of Tourism” address. During the address Jobe also previewed the state’s upcoming seasonal promotional campaigns and new marketing efforts.

The conference also honored the creative work of tourism industry professionals with the “Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards.” Awards were presented in 11 categories, plus the Best in Show and Friend of Tourism awards. Entries were judged by a panel of marketing and tourism professionals on clarity of message, creativity, originality and the project’s overall success. Award winners included:

Best in Show: Alton Regional Convention & Visitor’s Bureau
Friend of Tourism Award: Nicky Stratton, Springfield Convention & Visitor’s Bureau

Best Leisure Collateral:
Division A: Alton Regional Convention & Visitor’s Bureau
Division B: Visit Galena

Best Sales Collateral: Springfield Convention & Visitor’s Bureau

Best Social Media Marketing:
Division A: Rockford Area Convention & Visitor’s Bureau
Division B: Visit Galena

Best Cooperative Partnership:
Division A: IllinoiSOUTH
Division B: Visit Galena

Best Branding Initiative:
Division A: Alton Regional Convention & Visitor’s Bureau
Division B: Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway

Best Website:
Division A: Alton Regional Convention & Visitor’s Bureau
Division B: Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway

Best Visitors Publication:
Division A: Rockford Area Convention & Visitor’s Bureau
Division B: Quincy Area Convention & Visitor’s Bureau

Best Event:
Division A: The Magnificent Mile Association
Division B: Quincy Area Convention & Visitor’s Bureau

Best Hotel/Lodging Campaign: Visit Galena

Best Culinary Marketing Campaign: Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau

Best Marketing Campaign:
Division A: Adler Planetarium
Division B: Streator Tourism

To learn more about Illinois tourism, and to plan your trip, visit www.Enjoyillinois.com.