Illinois Governors Conference on Travel & Tourism

Author Archives: Levi Steven

  1. Look Your Best at the Conference: What to Wear & Bring

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    Worried about what to wear at this year’s Conference? Digging through your closet for those perfect conference duds? Fret not, my friends. This special update sponsored by The Magnificent Mile has all the details on what to wear and when to wear it at the 2016 Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism.

    Conference Wardrobe Essentials

    Monday evening treats us to the Presidential Dinner in honor of the Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards. So as you would expect from a title like “The Presidential Dinner,” its primed to be a pretty fancy affair. Here are the do’s and don’ts for your awards dinner draperies.
    What to Wear – Formal Attire: Slim-cut herringbone tweed suit, timeless black dress… it’s all fair game. Not feeling the tie? No worries – it’s optional.
    What Not to Wear: Jeans, tank tops, obligatory tuxedo t-shirt or that prom dress from the 90’s you have saved in the back of your closet.

    Breakout and general sessions fill the morning with the Tourism Luncheon in the afternoon. Closing out the night is our evening’s networking event, The Presidential Reception, hosted by the Old State Capitol Building. With a packed day like Tuesday, the name of the game is Business Comfortable.
    What to Wear – Business Comfortable: Unlike the cryptic “business casual” (Is it slacks and a polo? Is the blazer optional?), business comfortable is all about dressing for success without feeling like you’re in a 12-hour sales meeting. Sport coats, blazers, comfy slacks, shoe inserts, you get the picture.
    What Not to Wear – Shorts, flip flops, your favorite Ramones t-shirt (you can wear it under your button up – we won’t tell.)

    Wednesday (Half Day)
    It’s the last day of the Conference! You made it. We made it. We’re all exhausted. Name of the game here: Business Extra-Comfortable
    What to Wear – Business Comfortable. All the same as Tuesday, but with a little extra comfort. Go ahead, experiment with a polo – no one will notice.
    What Not to Wear – It’s been a long three days – follow your heart.

    What to bring:

    • Print out this newsletter so you can come prepared!
    • Business cards
    • Creative black tie, business casual and casual attire
    • Notebook, writing utensils
    • Device chargers
    • Travel tickets
    • Program book, Governor’s Conference bag, name badge (given at registration)
    • Extra print-out of Conference schedule, just in case!
    • Heavy coat for outdoor travel
    • Comfortable shoes
    • Presenting materials and notes (for all speakers, moderators, presenters, exhibitors and emcees)
    • Toiletries
    • Computer/tablet
    • Travel mug (good for that much-needed early morning coffee!)
    • Photo ID, medical insurance card

    Looking forward to a great conference!


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    More than 400 Illinois tourism leaders, partners and elected officials to convene in Springfield March 21 – 23 to learn latest industry and marketing trends

    Chicago – The state’s premier gathering of tourism industry professionals will return to Springfield for the first time in nearly a decade, March 21st through March 23rd. The annual Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism brings together state leaders, travel experts and other special guests to showcase innovative ideas for promoting travel.

    Travel and tourism is an essential component of Illinois’ economy. In 2014, Illinois welcomed more than 109.4 million visitors, which generated more than $36.3 billion in travel expenditures for the state’s economy. The Governor’s Conference provides an amazing opportunity for professionals of all kinds – from small family restaurant owners to luxury hotel managers – to learn about the latest trends and best practices that can help enhance their business contributions to one of the fastest-growing industry sectors in Illinois.

    This year the conference returns to Springfield for the first time since 2008, and will be held at the President Abraham Lincoln – A Doubletree by Hilton Hotel.

    “As a lifelong Illinoisan, and Springfield resident, I’m so happy to welcome the state’s tourism leaders back to the capital, a city that’s such an integral part of the state’s tourism landscape,” said Cory Jobe, Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. “The tourism industry is a vital part of our state’s economy, not only providing revenue from our visitors, but supporting jobs and quality of life benefits for residents across the state.”

    Jobe will present the annual State of the State Tourism Address on Tuesday, March 22 at 12:00 p.m. He will reflect on the marketing initiatives and partnerships from throughout the past year, as well as offer a look ahead to special initiatives and new programs being unveiled later in 2016.

    Additional conference highlights and presentations include:

    • Opening keynote session with Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor, CBS News

    • Remarks on the economic importance of tourism with Jim Schultz, Director, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

    • National Travel Update with Chris Thompson, President & CEO, Brand USA and Roger Dow, President & CEO, U.S. Travel Association

    • The Biggest Mistakes in Travel Marketing; And What We Can Learn From Them with Doug Lansky, travel writer and author

    • Redefining the Female Traveler with Melissa Luebbe, National Travel Director, Midwest Living

    • The Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards, which honor innovative tourism marketing initiatives that promote the outstanding destinations, attractions and events throughout the state

    • Innovation Hall Tradeshow with opportunities to network with other professionals and distribute business collateral

    • Closing Luncheon and Google Presentation with Laura Sardgna, Head of Industry Catalyst, Google

    For a complete conference schedule and list of speakers, or to register for the 2016 Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism, visit

    # # #

    The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism manages industry efforts that result in sustainable and significant economic and quality-of-life benefits for Illinois residents

    Download the Press Release here.

  3. VIP Ticket – Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

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    Included in every Full Registration, experience the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. This award winning immersive museum is a combination of scholarship and showmanship, that follows the fate of America’s 16th president. Share the joys and sorrows of a family, and of a nation.  In our holographic presentation, Ghosts of the Library, our Lincoln historian tackles the question, “Why save all this stuff?”  Current exhibits include History to Hollywood and Art in the Atrium. Presently on display is Lincoln’s stovepipe hat, Mary’s music box, and numerous other artifacts. Open from 9am – 5pm, last tickets issued at 4pm. VIP admission is included in your conference packets.

    Conference attendees that would like to learn more about our history, can sign-up for a free in-depth “Scholarship meets Showmanship” guided tour that will be offered on March 21st at 10am and 2pm or March 23rd at 3pm.  Sign-up for this tour by calling 217-558-8939. Space is limited.


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    We invite Illinois tourism-related organizations to enter the Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards. The awards honor innovative tourism marketing initiatives that promote the outstanding destinations, attractions and events throughout the State of Illinois.

    The winning entries will be announced at the Awards Ceremony dinner which is Monday night, March 21, 2016. The winning entries will also be recognized in media releases, as well as in Illinois Office of Tourism and Illinois Council of Convention and Visitor Bureaus newsletters.

    Submit your entry now! 

  5. Kickoff the Conference A Day Early: Illinois VolunTourism

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    Illinois VolunTourism (IVT) is a volunteer opportunity for tourism organizations and their partners across our state. IVT is a chance to come together by donating our time and giving back to the areas and historic attractions that make Illinois the great tourism destination that it is.

    The IVT event will be held a day prior to the conference, at 1:00pm on Sunday, March 20, 2016.

    During this inaugural IVT event, the Illinois Office of Tourism (IOT), working in conjunction with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA), invites all conference attendees to give back to the Springfield tourism community. Our volunteers will spend half a day cleaning flower beds, trimming bushes, and preparing Illinois’ War Memorials for the coming tourism season when tens of thousands of youth and guests will visit the area to pay respect to Illinoisans who stepped forward to give the ultimate sacrifice.

    Don’t miss out on an afternoon of giving back to the community, of being able to network with your fellow conference attendees, but most of all to being able to make a difference.

    With every $25 registration, attendees will receive a branded volunteer t-shirt, water bottle and the opportunity to network amongst tourism professionals post the volunteer event at an exclusive cocktail reception at the historic Dana Thomas House with rejuvenating drinks and hors d’evours!

    Register now!*

    *To register for the IVT event, simply follow the link above and choose your conference registration type. At the very top of the next page, under “Options”, there will be a checkbox to add this event to your registration.

  6. Illinois Office of Tourism Kicks Off Its Annual Tourism Roadshow

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    July 27, 2015

    CONTACT: Brian Rehme

    Tourism officials share local travel economic impact numbers, a brand new travel magazine and ‘Illinois Made’ initiative during annual week-long statewide tour

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    CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism is celebrating a 4th consecutive year of record-breaking tourism industry numbers as part of an annual four day, 12-stop tour around Illinois. In addition to economic impact numbers, tourism officials are announcing during the tour a new Illinois Made initiative that celebrates the artisans, craftsmen and innovators unique to the Land of Lincoln, along with a brand new bi-annual travel lifestyle magazine which will launch next spring.

    In 2014, the state’s tourism industry hosted more than 109.4 million visitors, an increase of 3.5 percent over 2013, generating more than $36.3 billion in travel expenditures for the state’s economy. In addition, state and local tax revenues generated from this visitor spending rose to $2.7 billion in 2014, an increase of $133.8 million in one year alone. These visitor expenditures directly supported over 306,000 jobs, an increase of 5,000 new jobs in 2014.

    “The ongoing increase in visitors to Illinois year after year demonstrates that both leisure and business travelers are considering Illinois a premier travel destination, a true testament that the industry’s efforts to support and promote travel to Illinois are paying off,” said Cory Jobe, Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. “Aggressive tourism promotion not only brings new visitors and repeat travelers, but it results in tangible quality of life benefits and job opportunities for Illinoisans across the state, from hotels and restaurants to museums and attractions.”

    On the road, Jobe is highlighting two new initiatives to promote Illinois’ unique travel offerings. In the spring, the Illinois Office of Tourism will launch Enjoy, a newly formatted Illinois travel magazine, published bi-annually. Enjoy will be a lifestyle-format magazine to inspire travel with featured content and unique experiences. will also feature an interactive digital format of the magazine, allowing readers to explore content from the magazine in-depth and through exclusive web content.

    In addition to Enjoy, the Illinois Office of Tourism is launching the Illinois Made program this fall. Illinois is full of inventors, artists, performers, innovators, pioneers and makers. Illinois Made will showcase and celebrate these makers, their passion for what they do and the positive impact they’ve made on the people and culture of the state.

    The full statewide tour and program schedule, July 27 – 30, includes:

    Monday, July 27

    • Marion: 8:00 a.m. at Kokopelli Golf Course
    • Effingham: 11:30 a.m. at Firefly Grill
    • Lebanon: 1:30 p.m. at Hettenhauser Center for the Arts

    Tuesday, July 28

    • Quincy: 9:00 a.m. at The History Museum
    • Springfield: 1:00 p.m. at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
    • Bloomington: 4:00 p.m. at Epiphany Farms Restaurant and Farms

    Wednesday, July 29

    • Champaign: 8:00 a.m. at Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch
    • Peoria: 11:00 a.m. at Caterpillar Visitors Center
    • Quad Cities: 2:30 p.m. at John Deere Pavilion

    Thursday, July 30

    • Rockford: 9:00 a.m. at Rockford Brewing Company
    • Elgin: 11:30 a.m. at Elgin Artspace Lofts
    • Rosemont: 4:00 p.m. at Hofbräuhaus Chicago

    For more information about planning an Illinois getaway and to order a free copy of the 2015 Illinois Travel Guide, please visit

    # # #

    The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism manages industry efforts that result in sustainable and significant economic and quality-of-life benefits for Illinois residents. Economic impact statistics are provided annually by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Travel Association.

  7. The Illinois Office of Tourism wins the Best Social Media Campaign at the 2014 Mercury Awards!

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    The 2014 Mercury Awards recognize members for excellence and creative accomplishment in state destination marketing and promotion; and inspire, through showcasing outstanding work, the continued development of imaginative and exciting marketing and promotional programs. The Illinois Office of Tourism wins the Best Social Media Campaign for their work on #MiniAbe’s Big Night Out. Read more about the ESTO awards here! 

  8. Leisure Travel Facts

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    • Direct spending on leisure travel by domestic and international travelers totaled $621.4 billion in 2013.
    • Spending on leisure travel generated $91.9 billion in tax revenue.
    • More than 3 out of 4 domestic trips taken are for leisure purposes (78%).
    • U.S. residents logged 1.6 billion person-trips* for leisure purposes in 2013.
    • Top leisure travel activities for U.S. domestic travelers: (1) visiting relatives; (2) shopping; (3) visiting friends; (4) fine dining and (5) beaches.


  9. Business Travel Facts

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    • Direct spending on business travel by domestic and international travelers, including expenditures on meetings, events and incentive programs (ME&I), totaled $266.5 billion in 2013.
    • ME&I travel accounted for $105.4 billion of all business travel spending.
    • U.S. residents logged 452 million person-trips* for business purposes in 2013, with 24% for meetings and events.
    • For every dollar invested in business travel, businesses benefit from an average of $9.50 in increased revenue and $2.90 in new profits (2012).

    * Person-trip defined as one person on a trip away from home overnight in paid accommodations or on a day or overnight trip to places 50 miles or more (one-way) away from home. 


  10. Brand USA Delivers Proven Benefits

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    It boosts visitation: According to Oxford Economics, Brand USA increased inbound international travel to the U.S. by 2.3 percent, resulting in 1.1 million additional trips.

    It supports U.S. jobs: The additional visitation spurred by Brand USA resulted in an estimated $3.4 billion in new visitor spending and $7.4 billion in increased economic output, which supported more than 53,000 U.S. jobs.

    It generates tax revenues: The additional visitor spending created by Brand USA generated an estimated $972 million in federal, state, and local taxes.

    It pays strong dividends: Brand USA returns an estimated $47 in direct economic benefits for every $1 spent on travel promotion.