Calendar | Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County

Governor's Conference on Tourism Draws Logan County Representatives

Logan County Board Primary Winner Jan Schumacher Attends 3-Day Event

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[February 21, 2008]  SPRINGFIELD -- Tourism-related representatives from several Logan County organizations attended this year's Illinois Governor's Conference on Tourism Feb. 13-15 in Springfield. The annual event is put on by the Illinois Tourism Alliance, the official advocacy group and voice of the Illinois tourism industry.

Informative workshops included topics that covered travel trends (including gender and age subcategories), "going green" tourism, heritage tourism, Internet applications and marketing, and event planning.

The traditional "State of Tourism" session featured keynote speeches by Jack Lavin, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Jan Kostner, deputy director of the Illinois Bureau of Tourism. Lavin reported on the latest statistics (fiscal 2006) showing 91 million visitors to the state, up 8 percent overall from the previous year. Lodging was up 15 percent. He also discussed the E-grants Illinois program, which will make the grant availability process easier. Kostner announced that the Illinois Bureau of Tourism had awarded $24.8 million in grants in 2007.

Among the grants awarded to the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County was the Local Tourism and Convention Bureau Grant. This grant is awarded annually to certified bureaus and is matched by local hotel tax funds.

The bureau also received a separate grant for the development of the tourism bureau's new visitors guide, due out in March. The guide will be the first new visitors guide in several years. "This is an important step in our evolving marketing campaign," said bureau director Geoff Ladd, who attended the conference along with several tourism bureau board members.

Kostner also discussed activities surrounding the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial, the ongoing Chicago 2016 Olympics bid and the state's Illinois KidVentures spring campaign, launched Monday.

One of the more visible attendees to the conference this year was the newly hired executive director of the Illinois Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, Hal Smith. Smith is replacing outgoing director Nicky Stratton, the former head of the Springfield Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Smith will speak at the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County's annual dinner in Lincoln on April 25.

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Recent Logan County Board primary winner Jan Schumacher also attended the conference. Schumacher represented the Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County. She serves as vice chair of the group, which is responsible for restoring The Mill on 66 in Lincoln and also is the organization behind the annual Route 66 Garage Sale of Logan County, scheduled for June 13-14. "The tourism conference generated many great ideas that could bring more tourists to Logan County," said Schumacher. "One way to make sure that happens is to develop a countywide tourism master plan."

Also attending the conference, on behalf of the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County, were board members Bob McCue, who also represents Mount Pulaski Courthouse volunteers; Shirley Bartelmay, who also represents Postville Courthouse volunteers; Alberta Hellman, who also represents Emden Historical Society; Gillette Ransom, who also represents Elkhart Historical Society; and Stacie Wachtel, who also represents Heritage In Flight Museum in Lincoln.

Wachtel is the newest Logan County tourism bureau board member, and this was her first annual conference. "I felt the time was very well-spent," she said. "Anyone who is interested in promoting their tourist venue or event would benefit by attending the conference. From how to best work with the media to planning a successful ‘event,' this conference covered it all! Lincoln would really put themselves on the tourism map by implementing many of the ideas and concepts presented."

McCue, who previously served as chairman of the Logan County tourism bureau, has attended many annual conferences. "As a volunteer, the conference always rejuvenates and reinvigorates me. I always enjoy meeting with the other volunteers and professionals in the tourism industry, and there is nothing more enjoyable than being with people whose entire business is hospitality."

[Text from file received from Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County]

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