EDITOR’S NOTE: This column, provided by the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, discusses tourism events on the horizon.
Thankfully, we’ve had another incredible fall season with October having almost perfect weather weekends. It’s no wonder that October rivals our biggest summer month of July. We are waiting on the final numbers, but due to some renovations going on at our hotels in Alton, the inventory has been reduced and therefore the numbers of stays will be impacted. Despite those downs, no one can argue the blessing of the month of October on our region and communities, especially as we look at the thousands of day trippers coming to town just for one day.
As we glide through November, we begin to hunker down for the cold temperatures. These cold temperatures will bring down eagles from the north and attract a new type of visitor. We’ve already distributed our official 2016 eagle watcher’s guide to local attractions and the week of Thanksgiving, we will mail out 19,000 guides to our regular visitors of the region reminding them of all the great eagle-watching fun and getaway packages.
Due to state of Illinois budgets, we have trimmed some of our eagle and holiday advertising plans. However, we have placed television spots on KTVI, KMOV and KSDK along with print campaigns in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Midwest Living and AAA Midwest Traveler. We believe that the state of Illinois will invest in tourism promotion when this budget impasse concludes. But your CVB is working ahead to ensure more visitors coming for this eagle season. We will be ready to roll when the state rejoins the ranks for regional tourism promotion.
And we are thankful for our ability to continue the majority of our ad campaigns, despite the lack of state funding. And how fitting since November is a time to reflect and give thanks for the past year. The tourism industry and your CVB have a lot for which to be thankful. We have communities that value tourism and the CVB’s efforts to drive more visitation to our destination. Not only do the individual hospitality partners value our efforts, they contribute financially to the growth of the CVB and our promotions efforts. And so do many of the taxing bodies with lodging product, including Alton, Godfrey, Jersey and Madison County and Grafton.
There’s no doubt about it that regionalism is a tough sell, with so many competitive entities out there. But we all realize that in order to move forward we must move as a region toward greatness. Especially in the tourism industry, we are all connected with one destination of the Meeting of the Great Rivers. Take this month to #ExploreGreatRivers and be thankful for the natural and community gifts we are able to enjoy!
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.