EDITOR’S NOTE: This monthly column provided by the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau discusses tourism events on the horizon.
It’s almost too hard to believe that we have wrapped up a quarter of the year already! But time flies when you are having fun, right? The first three months of the year have been wonderful for the tourism scene. We’ve experienced some good numbers and growth for this time period.
The eagle season kicked off the trend with a decent, albeit not record, number of eagles. People flocked down with the seasonable weather to visit with us and our migratory friends. We saw a nice increase in the visitation to the Alton Visitor Center and almost all of the events and programs throughout the region saw positive growth. We are still tallying the final economic impacts, but I would not be surprised to see tourism expenditures on eagle-watching surpass the $2.5 million mark!
Our lodging and hotel market has remained strong, with growth trending upwards of 20 percent in higher revenue generated from the industry over this same period last year. This is thanks largely in part to the renovation of our hotel product, the Atrium, Hampton Inn and Comfort Inn.
As we race into summer, the CVB and our destination are ready! Our new spring and summer travel guide is hitting mailboxes next week, just in time for some late April events and covering all the fun through Labor Day. Watch for lots of great activities this summer, including cruises, solar eclipses, kid’cation fun and so much more.
Because it is so timely, please try to find your ways to participate in the second annual Alton Craft Beer Week from April 22 through 29. The event kicks off with Riverside Brews and Bites at the Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater. This event boasts not only the start to one pretty cool week, but also samples from 11 Illinois and Missouri brews and many of our local food scene specialties, like Elijah P’s, Morrison’s Irish Pub, Great Rivers Tap and Grill and more. Check out all of the fun you can have at this event and all week long at AltonCraftBeerWeek.com.
Let’s keep the momentum going for an even more successful second quarter and we jump right into the late spring and summer seasons!
Stawar is president and CEO of the CVB, which works for the vested interests of hospitality partners in Madison, Jersey and Calhoun counties.