John Groh, CDME, is president/CEO for Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, a position he’s held since July 2009. During his tenure, tourism has grown in Winnebago County for ten consecutive years at rates that make it the fastest-growing metropolitan tourist market in Illinois outside of Chicago.
In recent years, the bureau co-coordinated a multi-agency effort to expand existing indoor and outdoor sports tourism venues and create a new indoor, hardcourt facility. RACVB’s award-winning sports marketing program is well-respected among other cities that seek to benefit from sports tournaments. John currently leads a mayoral committee in developing a multi-million-dollar recreation and leisure plan for a large park adjacent to a new hotel and city-owned conference center.
Under John’s leadership, the RACVB has prioritized destination activation, which has resulted in such events as Stroll on State, a holiday festival that now draws close to 90,000 people to downtown Rockford, and CRE8IV: transformation art – a multi-site public art festival.
Within the visitor industry, John is sought after for his expertise. He frequently presents at professional conferences and willingly accepts leadership roles for organizations in the industry. He is the immediate past board chair of the Illinois Council of Convention & Visitors Bureau and currently serves as the chair of the Destinations International Foundation.