EDITOR’S NOTE: This monthly column, provided by the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, discusses tourism events on the horizon.
The first month of 2016 is history! It was a very busy month of transition into a new year. Already for 2016, we have some results.
For January, overnight visitors are looking good. In a quick glance, it appears we are trending close to last year’s numbers in regard to overnight guests, even with some rooms that are unavailable to rent due to major renovations.
Mother Nature certainly played a role in our start to the year and eagle season. With a flood opening up the year and the warm temperatures, we were off to a very rocky start. But the waters did recede and the temperatures dipped. Eagles made their way back to the river and delighted guests for the last half of January. However, visitation to the region for eagle-watching weekends has been down dramatically given the loss of the first two weeks of the year. There are still some strong eagle sightings out there, so stay tuned at www.VisitAlton.com/eagles for the latest counts, updates and stories. Don’t forget about the Masters of the Sky event at the National Great Rivers Museum over Presidents Day Weekend.
Another delight for visitors and residents alike was the fifth annual Alton Restaurant Week. The tastes of the region celebrated the start to the New Year in grand style. The results are in and the CVB is proud to say that we had a record-breaking week, at least at the Alton Visitor Center. Because of the successful glass giveaway, we distributed 1,600 commemorative glasses featuring Miles Davis. We’ve also surveyed the participating restaurants and many have said this is the best promotion they participate in, bar none! We will continue to celebrate our local food scene to visitors and we hope that you continue to devour your way through our destination. Save the date for All Star Restaurant Week from July 8-17.
As we look forward to February, we celebrate Valentine’s Day, a good day for our local culinary delights. Plan to celebrate locally at our great eats! Also, since it is a weekend this year consider making it extra special and get away in our own destination. The hotels are all being renovated and we have some incredible guest houses and bed and breakfast inns. Check out the full list at www.VisitAlton.com.
So, as we plow through the rest of winter, be thinking of your next adventure into spring. Let the Alton Visitor Center help you with a perfect idea for a spring outing or ways to explore our destination as the season blooms. We hear from a lot of visitors and residents on the best of the best for our region and we are not afraid to share it all with you. Come down to see us soon and keep supporting tourism to help our destination and communities grow.
Stawar is president and CEO of the CVB, which works for the vested interests of hospitality partners in northwestern Madison County and all of Jersey and Calhoun counties.