ALTON – When cheers erupted from within the Argosy Casino on Wednesday, it was thanks to the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, not machine winnings.
The bureau held its annual rally at the casino, fostering excitement and support from area business owners, city leaders and other Greater Alton supporters.
The rally was introduced by President and CEO Brett Stawar and emceed by WIL 92.3 radio personality Judi Diamond.
“You could easily spend a year doing all of the things you guys offer here in this area,” Diamond said.
Freebies were thrown into the waiting hands of attendees by the Alton Marina, Captain Andy’s Parasail, Spencer T. Olin Golf Course, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Grafton Winery, the Miles Davis and Haskell Playhouse fund-raising committees, Grafton Zipline, Argosy Casino, Lewis and Clark Community College, Grafton Harbor, Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater, St. Louis Regional Airport, The Nature Institute and Audubon Center, IDNR and Fish and Wildlife, the Alton Regional CVB, Alton Little Theater, Pere Marquette Lodge, the Alton, Wood River, Jerseyville Farmers Markets, and assorted haunted tour companies from the area.
Nearly everyone in attendance took home an assortment of T-shirts, Frisbees, floating key chains, tote bags, buttons, beads, toy airplanes and even stuffed swans (The Nature Institute), foam golf balls (Spencer T. Olin Golf Course), and fresh produce (The Farmers Markets).
The rally drew to a raucous close as the room waved their rally towels in the air, chanting “Tourism means jobs!”
The Alton CVB, one of 40 state-certified Illinois CVBs, has won numerous awards for its website, marketing and accessibility.
Illinois has set a tourism record in 2013 with 103 million visitors, according to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.