May 2013    


Annual Salute to Travel and Tourism in America


The first full week of May is annually recognized as National Travel and Tourism Week, a tradition first celebrated in 1984. For 2013, National Travel and Tourism Week is being held May 4-12.


Localized events are presented in cities, states and travel businesses nationwide to champion the power of travel. It was established as National Tourism Week when the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution in 1983 designating the week to be celebrated in May. In a White House ceremony, President Ronald Reagan signed a Presidential Proclamation urging citizens to observe the week with “the appropriate ceremonies and activities.”


Since its establishment, the U.S. travel community has collectively marked the event in a number of creative ways, from staging local rallies and conducting media outreach to securing proclamations and resolutions from local legislative bodies.  National Travel & Tourism Week’s theme this year is The Travel Effect, focusing on the important economic and personal benefits of leisure travel for strengthening relationships and creating lasting memories. Travel puts America to work – the travel and tourism industry comprises 14.4 million or 1 in every 8 American jobs, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Travel as a Family will bring you closer together – 2 out of 3 adults remember family vacations from as early as five years old, according to the U.S. Travel Association.


Travel Facts

·Travel and tourism is one of America’s largest industries.

·Generated $2.0 trillion in economic output, with $855.4 billion spent directly by domestic and international travelers that spurred an additional $1.1 trillion in other industries.

·Directly generated $129 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments.

·Each U.S. household would pay $1,060 more in taxes without the tax revenue generated by the travel and tourism industry.

·Direct spending by resident and international travelers in the U.S. averaged $2.3 billion a day, $97.6 million an hour, $1.6 million a minute and $27,125 a second.

·Travel and tourism is America’s largest services export industry.

·$168.1 billion in travel exports (including traveler spending in the U.S. and international passenger fare payments to U.S. carriers) and the...

·$118.1 billion in travel imports (including U.S. resident spending abroad and international passenger fares paid to foreign carriers) creates...

·$45 billion in balance of travel trade surplus for the U.S.

·Travel and tourism is one of America’s largest employers.

·Supported 14.6 million jobs, including 7.7 million directly in the travel industry and 6.9 million in other industries.

·1 out of every 8 jobs in the U.S. depends on travel and tourism.

·Generated $200.9 billion in payroll for those employed directly in U.S. travel.

·Travel is among the top 10 industries in 48 states and D.C. in terms of employment.




Magnificent Stuff Happens Hereso, to help celebrate this year’s National Travel and Tourism week theme, Travel Effect, the Illinois Office of Tourism (IOT) is  encouraging people to share their greatest travel moments in Illinois with us, through the Magnificent Stuff Happens Here campaign.


Starting on May 6, anyone who lives in or has visited Illinois can submit their photos and videos of their favorite Illinois experience for a chance to be featured in an Enjoy Illinois commercial later this summer.

Users can share content and join the conversation at or via the Enjoy Illinois Facebook or YouTube pages. Users can also join in the fun by tagging their content with the #ILMagStuff hash tag.

The Magnificent Stuff Happens Here campaign is an excellent way to show first-hand what makes an Illinois getaway so memorable by highlighting real stories from real people.

Lincoln Highway NEWS


The National Centennial Celebration of the Lincoln Highway has been designated as one of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2013 by an expert tourism industry selection committee.  The event will take place this year in Kearney from June 30- July 1.


Inclusion in the Top 100 list indicates that the Lincoln Highway Centennial will offer excellent entertainment value to tour groups and individual travelers from around the world, according to the American Bus Association (ABA).  What began as a way for motorcoach operators to incorporate new product into their itineraries has grown

into one of the most sought-after lists by travel professionals, motorcoach operators and the general public. The honor gives Kearney an important boost in visibility among professional tour planners.


Lincoln Highway…Not Your Ordinary Road Trip

Here's a road tour, and rolling history lesson, that's headed west in July: The Lincoln Highway Centennial Tour.  Ownersof pre-'80 US-built cars from around the world are shipping them to the States, then going on a 26-day, 3,000+ mile tour from New York City to San Francisco in them.  And, yes, there will be at least one Mopar going...this one!


Back in the early years of the last century, inter-city travel by automobile was an adventure.  In 1913, the Lincoln Highway Association was formed, with the goals of creating "improved" (paved) roads to carry commerce and motorists, and create the first truly transcontinental highway. That road, the Lincoln Highway, was then built in stages, leading to the system of numbered roads (US routes and Interstates) of today.


Along the way, they'll help raise public awareness and renew interest in the Lincoln Highway during its centennial.  Many of the participant vehicles, though designed, styled, engineered and built here in the states, are being shipped here from their owners' homes around the world.

One of these is this '56 DeSoto Fireflite "Pacesetter" convertible, wearing the color scheme and lettering of the DeSoto that paced the 39th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (and Pat Flaherty took home as part of his prize package for winning the race).

See more about the Lincoln Highway Centennial Tour on their website ( as well as on their Facebook page.  (Info & images courtesy

Calendar of Events -

Illinois Tourism Happenings


May 4-12

National Travel and Tourism Week


May 11

National Wine Tourism Day in North America


May 27

   Office Closed – Memorial Day


June 6

Culinary Tourism Workshop #1, Chicago


June 8-12

   IPW – Las Vegas


June 24-25

   One State Together in the Arts, Quad Cities


June 27

Culinary Tourism Workshop #2, Harvey


July 1

   Happy New Year - FY14 begins


July 1-5

   Lincoln Highway National Convention- Kearney, NE


July 1-26

   Lincoln Highway Centennial Tour, New York to California


IPW and BrandUSA - New initiates to strengthen our tourism industry


What is International Pow Wow?  U.S. Travel Association’s IPW is the travel industry's premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the U.S. - it is NOT a typical trade show. In just three days of intensive pre-scheduled business appointments, more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations from every region of the USA (representing all industry category components), and close to 1,200 international and domestic buyers from more than 70 countries, conduct business negotiations that result in the generation of more than $3.5 billion in future Visit USA travel. At IPW, buyers and sellers are able to conduct business that would otherwise be generated only through an exhaustive number of around-the-world trips.  In 2013, delegates will come to Las Vegas from June 8-12.  AND, important for those of here in Illinois is that CHICAGO will be the host city in 2014!  For more information or to register, visit


What is Brand USA?  Brand USA is the premier partner of International Pow Wow (IPW). As the national public-private destination marketing entity, Brand USA inspires travelers to explore the United States’ boundless possibilities and partners with the U.S. travel industry to maximize the economic and social benefits of travel for communities nationwide. In 2012, Brand USA launched a successful first-ever consumer marketing campaign in Canada, U.K. and Japan on behalf of the United States, greatly increasing intent to visit in these markets. Brand USA will expand its consumer and partner campaigns to activate travel throughout 2013, working closely with the trade to facilitate increased global visitation to the U.S., and will be available for business appointments at IPW.

For industry or partner information about Brand USA, visit  For information on travel to the United States, visit

Tollway Oasis Kiosks Updated


We created and installed, with the support of regional partners, five (5) stand-alone Visitor Information Kiosks at Tollway Oases in Belvidere, DeKalb, O’Hare, Des Plaines, and Hinsdale.  Starting this month, you can find the new 2013 Illinois Travel Guide in a stand-along rack adjacent to some of the kiosks.  We are estimating that we will be stocking up to 200 guides each time we replenish the materials.  So, this will be something new and something we’ve never tried before.  And, a special thanks to IOT, the Toll Authority and the management agency US Equities…this was a joint venture that, while sounded simple, created huge logistic challenges.


Renewals have been out to partners for the Chicagoland Oases…also gauging if we are at capacity.  If any regional partner is interested in learning more about the program, please contact the office to determine if there is space availability at specific Oasis.  It’s hard to believe we will are entering our fifth year, and the amount of information we’ve shared has been phenomenal.  We were also able to place destination banners in the Oases too, showcasing the communities and attractions in our area.

The Stories of Chicago & Beyond


Chicago & Beyond is in the process of developing an exciting digital marketing platform and website that will bring widespread attention to the people and businesses throughout Northern Illinois. The program is part of our FY13 IOT Marketing Grant and will showcase up to 96 people and families in four categories that are based in our region:

·         Northern Illinois Wine Trail Personalities

·         The Hospitality of Chicago & Beyond

·         Your Illinois Farmer

·         Illinois Lincoln Highway Encounters

We have asked for nominations from our regional CVBs in the Chicago & Beyond service area. If you know someone who deserves this honor, please email their name, organization, email address and why you think they should be one of the stories of Chicago & Beyond.  We did receive lots of nominations, but if you can think of one more in any of our categories, please get it to us ASAP…. The website is in development and is expected to be live this June.  And based on the popularity demonstrated for this proposed initiative, we anticipate more categories in the upcoming year.

Wine Trail Updates

Here is some great news about the wineries in Northern Illinois, which are continuing to grow and add in new tasting rooms and special events along the Northern Illinois Wine Trail.  Not sure where to visit, the wineries on the Northern Illinois Wine Trail are featured on the center-spread of the 2013 Chicago & Beyond Visitor Guide, and we’ve increased the exposure from two pages to three pages.  The two-page map with Google driving directions is available for download at and we have created an interactive/downloadable eGuide with Madden Media partners for use by our visitors while on the go.  AND, did you know that we have over 35 partners along the trail….just how many have you visited?


Looking for wine trail news….check out the ad in the Spring/Summer Getaway Guide and the unveiling of our new eGuide.  This eight-page eGuide is totally interactive and can be downloaded from and from our website as well.

Wine Trail rack cards are available.  Contact us if you need any of these to distribute to potential visitors.  AND, we did receive marketing dollars to expand the information contained in our print materials….we’re now producing an eight-panel brochure to better showcase the region.  We hope to have the guide approved and ready for distribution in late May, and we’ll be sure to share the news when it hits the dock at our office.

Illinois Lincoln Highway Murals


You have heard us talk for months, actually years about the Interpretive Murals, the sheer number and the beautiful artwork being created.  Our talented artist and vendor Jay Allen of Shawcraft Signs probably said it best in his Facebook post…

After 1,535 days . . . Just over 4 years of my life . . . I am finished. I have completed all the pictorial work that remained on the Lincoln Highway project . . . 35 murals – 179 miles across Illinois – 33 towns – over 6,500 sq. ft. painted.  I completed a legacy project – something most artists dream of but never get the opportunity to do. I did. Humbled. Satisfied, Proud. Wiser. Empowered.


Two more to install and then it truly is ‘off the radar’.  Impossible to do alone . . . and equal praise and honor to Joe Marshall, Bill Hueg and Sue Hronik. My sincere appreciation to Char Scamihorn for getting me paid!! Bonnie Heimbach . . . you trusted me to pull off something never done before . . . Even you couldn’t have dreamed up this amount of success and honor. Thank you for your faith.  We did it.”


The Illinois Lincoln Highway has completed a series of 35 murals, each depicting a unique story of the history and heritage of the famed highway.  All are hand-painted, large-scale public works of art, and all taken from historical photos.  This has been a labor of love between the ILHC board and staff, the community partners and our talented partner, Jay Allen.


What’s next…..the installation of the final two murals in Franklin Grove and Rochelle.  Well, we’re now working on the creation of our legacy projects.  We are creating a new interactive website with driving direction, history of the murals, the time-lapse creation of several murals, and much more.  This will be a signature piece to showcase the entirety and depth of the project.  We will also be creating post cards of the murals…..details are coming in the next few weeks.

One State Together in the Arts


Convened every other year by Arts Alliance Illinois and the Illinois Arts Council Agency, One State Together in the Arts is the only statewide, multidisciplinary conference for arts leaders, advocates and practitioners in Illinois.  This year it is being held June 24-25 in the Quad Cities. One State isn’t your ordinary conference. Rather than lots of plenaries and concurrent sessions, One State has a total of ten presenters. Our presenters are dynamic, electrifying storytellers who, in a 20-minute talk or performance, share big ideas and big inspiration.


Internationally acclaimed artist and urban planner Theaster Gates will keynote the conference. Through initiatives like the Dorchester Projects, Rebuild Foundation, and Arts and Public Life initiative at the University of Chicago, Theaster is putting theory into practice and transforming the well-being of individuals and communities through the arts. Drawing on an expanded artistic practice that includes space development, object making, performance, and critical engagement with many publics, Theaster’s keynote will explore from the inside out what happens when arts

and community engage. For more information and to register, go to

As been our practice, we continually research new websites that may be of interest to our regional partners.  Here are some sites for websites for you to check out:

Illinois Tourism:


IL Magnificent Stuff Happens Here:


Chicago and Beyond:


Chicago Tourism:


US Travel Assoctiation:


Illinois Council of Convention & Visitors Bureaus:


Illinois Wine Industry:


Northern Illinois Wine Trail:


National Scenic Byways:

Illinois Byways:

Traveling Green:


Illinois Film Locations:


Power of Travel – info & stats:


Power of Travel Coalition:


Discover America: 


SoMe Tourism:

2013 Chicago & Beyond Visitor Guide


Our 2013 guide is here, and at 72 pages, it is the largest that we have ever produced.  Working with Madden Media, the entire guide, all 72 pages and ads, has been converted into a digital eGuide where this format allows the consumer to download the content, but also use the live links to partners websites.  The eGuide is being used as fulfillment for the ads appearing in the Spring/Summer Getaway Guide and downloaded from .  If you need a case, send an email to Mary and she will get it out for you.


Wine News - International First-Ever Wine Tourism Tourism Day, May 11


The first-ever Wine Tourism Day in North America will take place on Saturday, May 11th, 2013, with wineries, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses offering a variety of events to the public throughout North America.


“There are now over 7,500 wineries in 205 American Viticultural Areas, 38 authorized wine appellations in Canada, and another 40 appellations in Mexico”, says Allan Wright, president of Zephyr Adventures, the active wine tour company organizing Wine Tourism Day. “Most of these wine regions and many of these wineries are dependent on visitors who sleep in hotel beds, eat in restaurants, and buy wine from cellar doors. Wine tourism is very important to the success of many local economies and is a subject worth commemorating.”


The idea for a Wine Tourism Day comes from Europe, where the European Day of Wine Tourism has been ongoing since 2009. Attendees of the 2012 Wine Tourism Conference, an annual gathering of the industry’s leaders, discussed bringing the concept to North America.


Wine Tourism Day is supported by a number of industry partners including, Touring and Tasting Marketing & Media, WineAmerica, the Wine Industry Network, the Wine Tourism Conference, and Zephyr Adventures, in addition to wine and tourism associations in wine regions throughout North America.  For more information on Wine Tourism Day, visit

Travel Media Showcase 2013


Travel Media Showcase, offers a unique opportunity for top travel journalists and travel industry professionals to meet one-on-one, at a single location, for the purpose of exchanging information and developing personal contacts. This year the host site is Rockford, scheduled for August 20-23, 2013.


Travel industry representation includes public relations or communications directors of convention and visitors bureaus, domestic and international destination tourism offices, major hotel chains, airlines, cruise lines, as well as entertainment attractions and gaming venues. Journalist representation includes editors, staff and freelance travel writers, magazine and newspaper travel writers, broadcast travel journalists, as well as Internet travel journalists and bloggers. Along with access to exhibitor booths, the three-day program will include two days of scheduled journalist/exhibitor appointment sessions, regional press tours, plus numerous other networking opportunities.


ICCVB Market Illinois and Illinois CVBs are participating at the Travel Media Showcase 2013 in Rockford this August.  It’s a fantastic opportunity and it is around the corner. We hope everyone has registered to participate in this trade show that will give destinations an opportunity to meet one-on-one with travel writers.  Last year, Illinois participants met with more than 28 travel writers.  This year, Market Illinois will be one of the sponsors for the August 21 dinner at the majestic Anderson Japanese Gardens, voted the top Japanese garden in the nation. Click here to register for Travel Media Showcase and get more info.

Culinary Tourism Workshops


Who doesn’t love food?  Who doesn’t wonder about the next great meal when on a getaway?  With that in mind, and the state’s new emphasis on Culinary Tourism, we have put together a comprehensive and aggressive Culinary Tourism Workshop series showcasing the region.


The series also addresses trends within culinary travel, both what’s hot and what is not. In its broadest sense, culinary tourism is defined as the pursuit of unique and memorable culinary experiences of all kinds, where while traveling, or by being a culinary tourist at home. The half-day workshop series on culinary tourism will be held in four locations, on separate dates across Northern Illinois during June – September 2013. Please remember, this is still in draft form:


Chicago Culinary Tourism Workshop – Creating Unique Experiences – June 6th


Chicago Southland Culinary Tourism Workshop – Urban Food Trends for Events – June 27th


Regional Culinary Tourism Workshop – The Art of Culinary Tourism – July 2013 (TBA)


Northwest Illinois Culinary Tourism Workshop – Relationships With Wine – September, 2013 (TBA)


So, we’re still in the planning stages and moving ahead with this initiative.  Be sure that we will keep you all in the loop…..and we want to acknowledge the partnership of the ISEN (Illinois Special Event Network) whose funding support is making these workshops series possible.



Website News


Our regional website,, is up and running.  The Calendar of Events is a great feature that constantly needs new content.  So, please check out the website, and send us the info.  Better yet, there is a button at the bottom of the page were you can Submit Changes or Additions, which is right next to the Submit an Event link.  Both links will take you to an online form where the information can be entered.  And we’re looking for more events through 2013, hint, hint.

And, we now have the ability to insert a PICTURE with your LISTING, so, we need pictures.  All pictures, which must have releases on file so they can be used, can be sent in a jpeg format to  Thanks!

ILHC News & Updates


Hot off the press is the new Lincoln Highway Visitor Guide, with a specially designed cover to commemorate the centennial of the famed highway.  Once again, the guide has expanded in size…topping out at 72 pages with expanded information on the history of the highway, the murals, the gazebos, national; centennial contacts, and even updated community profiles with listing.


AND more exciting news….the centennial of the Lincoln Highway takes place in 2013, and the ILHC is working to make sure that they are part of the celebration.  A new tri-fold brochure for the centennial is highlighting the highway’s history, the stories contained in the interpretive gazebos and murals, as well as signature events and attractions not to be missed while traveling the roadway…and was featured as a pull-out piece in the Winter Issue of American Road.  To date, there are three (3) auto road trips (one international too) being coordinated to have visitors drive the entire route, New York to San Francisco. And take note of the new centennial logo the ILHC has developed for the signature year.


Lastly, check out the website for the new Avatar Tour of the Murals and Gazebos.  So if you can’t make the drive along the Byway, our newly designed avatar (hint, it bears the name) will give you a personal tour.  And since we have our new avatar, you can also find an informative narrative on the highway’s history.  Plans are also including a new narrative of the entire Illinois Lincoln Highway, and what better tour guide than our Avatar Lincoln…check back for details~

Destination: Capitol Hill


Slated as the travel industry’s premier legislative fly-in, it was held April 10-11, 2013. Travel professionals from across all segments of the industry came to Washington, D.C. to speak directly to lawmakers about issues that impact the travel industry. Several delegates from Illinois were in attendance to learn about upcoming legislation that impacts travel, meet with Members of Congress to stress the importance of travel as an economic driver, and of course, network with key influentials and travel industry professionals.  Pictured here is the members of the Illinois delegation along Capitol Hill with the Cherry Blossoms in bloom.



Travel Means Jobs

The Travel Means Jobs report is a new study that details the significant impact of travel and the distinct makeup of travel jobs. It illustrates how travel serves as a powerful economic engine driving our nation's recovery and putting Americans back to work.  To read the complete report, visit to check it out and then get a copy of the official toolkit on how to share this info with your partners too.   Check it out, it's important~

Don't forget to 1-800-2CONNECT


It’s that time of year we are all gearing up for the coming tourist season. Please schedule a visit to

update our call center agents on your upcoming events, promotions and other exciting attractions in your area. As in the past, Chicago & Beyond staff will be heading to Taylorville to offer a regional presentation for the travel counselors…so if you want your area highlighted, please let us know.


And, please add Crystal Nichols,, to your e-newsletters. She will share the information with our travel counselors.

Find Us and our Partners


Chicago and Beyond has a button labeled SOCIAL MEDIA, where we feature links to our regional partners who are engaging in both Facebook and Twitter. Send your information to Mary if you want to be listed. We have successfully converted VisitNorthernIL to ChgoandBeyond on Facebook, as well as to our new identity on Twitter and Flicker.




Chicago & Beyond
200 South State Street
Belvidere, IL  61008


Phone/Fax 815.547.3740


Bonnie Heimbach, Exec. Dir.



Mary Peterson, Office Assistant