October 2013    


NOTE - We have Moved!


Although somewhat unplanned, we moved our office back in August to new space at the Belvidere Township Building.  Continuing our partnership with the City of Belvidere and Boone County, we wanted to remain in the community, and working with the partners at the Belvidere Township we were welcomed into their office building.  Besides having office space, we now a have access to a wonderful meeting room so look for some possible workshops to be held in-house.

For the record, our new office is at 8200 Fairgrounds Road, Belvidere.  Phone, fax, email, etc. remain the same.

The Experience of Culinary Tourism Workshop


Food has become the number one way travelers experience a destination, and it’s the most talked about aspect of many trips. Do you represent a destination, Scenic Byway or historic road, an orchard, local food business, agritourism facility, farmers market, or cultural event? Well, then this is the workshop series for you. Add some flavor to your organization with our Culinary Tourism Workshop Series.  We hosted our first session this last July in Dixon at the Basil Tree Ristorante and are excited to announce details for the next two sessions. 

THE PERFECT PAIR is scheduled for Tuesday, November 5, 2013 from 9:00AM—Noon at Lynfred Winery, 15 S. Roselle Rd., Roselle.  You’ll learn how to create the perfect food and wine pairings for everything from steaks and seafood, to hot dogs and popcorn. Our hostess for the event will be none other than Christina Anderson-Heller. Christina will lead attendees on a tasting extravaganza and showcase how Lynfred Winery has become expert at creating unique culinary experiences through wine and food.

Another topic that day will be pairing social media and events. The Lynfred Winery team will discuss several great ways to use social media to market, promote and create a successful conference, event, expo, wedding or any kind of gathering. Lynfred is recognized as social media revolutionaries when it comes to creating event buzz with social media. They will cover everything from registration buzz, to sharing buzz and event-shaping buzz during this entertaining and informative workshop segment.

CREATING UNIQUE EXPERIENCES, our third session, will be on Thursday, November 14, 2013 from 9:00AM—11:30AM (optional additional tasting lunch afterward) at Quartino, 626 N. State Street, Chicago. 
For 8 years, Quartino has been a bustling downtown Chicago restaurant and wine bar noted for its distinctive Italian small- plates menu, vintage decor, and attentive, personable service staff.

John Coletta, Executive Chef, Author and Managing Partner of Quartino will present his insights about what attracts travelers to Quartino’s regional Italian specialties including artisanal salumi, Neapolitan thin-crust pizza, house-made pasta, and seasonal dishes that are meant to be shared, and perfect for adventurous diners ready for a unique culinary experience. Presentation includes tastings. Chef Coletta is joined by Quartino General Manager Matt Graham as they introduce attendees to the finer points of how to bring locals and tourists together to create a unique dining experience.  Optional special lunch created by Executive Chef John Colletta – additional charge of $25 per attendee applies and includes 3-courses and wine….you can pay for the lunch the day of the session.
Cost for each of the sessions is $35.00 per person.  For more information, or to register, call the office or email Mary Jo at maryjo@chicagoandbeyond.com.  We hope you’ll mark your calendars an plan to join us…..Bon Appetit

Mini-Abe Showcases Illinois


Maybe spontaneity is just exactly what Illinois needs more of as the state attempts to market its various attractions to tourists.

Illinois' fall tourism ad campaign features a miniature statue of a familiar icon often associated with the state — Abe Lincoln. The Mini-Abe, as he has been dubbed for this ad campaign, is seen whizzing around Illinois to draw attention to some of the state's principal tourist activities and attractions, including river boating, county fairs, ballooning, stock car racing, the Willis Tower Skydeck ledge and Route 66, a section of which passes through the state.

The Mini-Abe commercial that is the centerpiece of the campaign is not hugely-sophisticated advertising. But it's the kind of stuff that people can immediately relate to, thanks to its directness and the absence of pretension. Plus, using the theme of spontaneity is a good one, because that's how a lot of people approach vacationing, especially the briefer, long-weekend sort of getaways that many in-state residents take in the fall and early winter.

So far, Mini-Abe is making a mark. And, this fall, IOT is launching a new initiative to send our beloved mini-mascot, Mini Abe, to all areas of our state. We invite you to welcome Mini Abe to your area for a week to capture content for your social media initiatives and share the latest and greatest points of interest from your region on Enjoy Illinois social channels.  So, Chicago & Beyond is excited to welcome Mini-Abe to our office the first week of December…wonder what the staff here will dream up for MinI-Abe to see and do!



Illinois has set an all-time record for tourism, breaking the 100 million visitor mark in 2012. International visitors rose 11.8% last year to set another new record and push the total to 101 million. Tourism in Illinois generated an estimated $33.5 billion and 298,700 jobs for the state’s economy, also new high marks for the state.

The record tourism numbers reflect targeted efforts to showcase Illinois as a travel destination. In the past two years, Illinois has launched a new tourism marketing campaign; promoted Illinois tourism on trade missions to Canada, China, Mexico and Brazil; and worked closely with local convention and visitors bureaus across Illinois to trumpet the unique attributes of their regions.

“Our world-class destinations continue to attract more
domestic and international visitors to Illinois each year, and this means jobs and economic growth for our state,” Governor Quinn said. “These record-breaking numbers show that the economic engine of tourism in Illinois is firing on all cylinders.”
Total international arrivals in Illinois hit 2,082,200 in 2012, a new record and an 11.8 percent increase over 2011. The news follows this summer’s announcement that Illinois hosted more than 99 million domestic visitors in 2012, a 6.1% increase over the record 93.3 million U.S. residents who visited Illinois in 2011.

This also marks the second year in a row that Illinois’ visitor numbers broke records and outpaced the national average of 5.4%, highlighting the industry’s vital contributions to Illinois’ economic growth, job creation and tax revenue.

Overseas arrivals reached 1,399,000 last year, up 11.4%, and visitors from Canada 9
.9% in 2012. Domestic and international travelers directly spent $33.5 billion in Illinois in 2012, up 5.7% from 2011. U.S. travelers’ expenditures grew 5 percent while international travelers’ expenditures increased 14.4%. These travel related expenditures generated 298,700 jobs, including full-time and seasonal part-time positions in the state. This reflects a 2.3% increase and 6,700 new jobs.

“The visitor increases in 2012 illustrate Illinois’ appeal as a premier travel destination for both leisure and business travelers,” IOT Deputy Director Jen Heolzle said. “We’re driving additional growth in international markets by continuing to develop innovative ways to share unique stories and opportunities for visitors and potential visitors to discover all that the state offers.”

Economic Impact from Tourism, by Illinois Counties in Service Area


And as in the past, if you want to know how a specific county fared with its Tourism Economic Impact, just check out our website.  Under the button for Education & Resources, you will find the two-page PDFs for each of the counties in our designated service area, as well as a few adjourning areas.  The first page compares the specific county’s figures for 2012 to the Chicago & Beyond region and the State of Illinois.  And the reverse page reflects a 10-year history.  You can download them and provide the data to your partners, legislators, stakeholders, etc.  And we have compiled Economic Impact stats for two of our regional byway partners:  the Illinois Lincoln Highway and the Illinois River Road.

Calendar of Events -

Illinois Tourism Happenings


October 2-4

   ICCVB, Sandwich


October 14

   Holiday - Office Closed


November 5

   Culinary Tourism Workshop, Roselle


November 14

Culinary Tourism Workshop, Chicago


Jan 7-11, 2014

TSE 2014, Nashville


Feb 3-5

Illinois Governor's Conference on Tourism, Chicago

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 www.northernillinoiswinetrail.com 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 unveiling of our new eGuide.  This eight-page eGuide is totally interactive and can be downloaded from www.vacationfun.com and from our website as well.  And our first-ever Wine Trail brochure has been printed and is a new format to showcase the wineries and tasting rooms with more content and images…perfect for our visitors.  Contact us if you need any of these to distribute to potential visitors.


Calling all wine lovers–epicureans of all levels! Join us as we celebrate the French-inspired tradition of Nouveau, previewing a sampling of the vintage from the fall harvest.

And, on Friday, November 22, help us make history as we set out to break the world record for the longest toast relay. Our goal: 1,000 people toasting in domino-style fashion along Main Street in Galena’s historic downtown. Pre-purchase your registration ticket or click here for the Toast schedule. It’s being called, the ‘Toast of the Town” and they need at least 1,000 participants, check out  www.nouveauweekend.com for all the details.

While many wineries have Nouveau celebrations, there are many seasonal events taking place.  And we encourage you to check the website (www.northernillinoiswinetrail.com) for info on seasonal events.  And remember, the holidays are coming…wine makes a GREAT GIFT.

Illinois' Seven Scenic Byways


CELEBRATIONS SCHEDULED OCTOBER 5– 12. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), Office of Tourism today announced designation of the 2013 Illinois Scenic Byway Week taking place October 5-12. Byways Week encourages public use of the state’s seven historic routes and also launches a new interactive website feature to help travelers plan their trips. The seven scenic byways of Illinois are nationally recognized and are full of natural beauty and nostalgia.

Visitors can now plan their byway trips and explore what each scenic route holds through the new interactive website feature on EnjoyIllinois.com. From quirky roadside attractions and photo opportunities to historical sites and natural wonders, the new website feature will help visitors discover the unique culture found along each of Illinois’ seven byways.

Illinois has SEVEN (yes 7) National Scenic Byways that cover all parts of the State.  And the collective experience from visiting the byways makes for a unique getaway for both domestic and international visitors.  Lastly, all byways are waiting the announcement on current FHWA grants…and most importantly for joint initiatives; we all submitted
and were awarded a FHWA grant for a series of several hundred bike racks which will include the QR codes for easy access to the byway websites.  Look for these to get installed in possibly spring 2014.

Established by Congress in 1991, a National Scenic Byway is a road recognized by the United States Department of Transportation for its archeological, cultural, historic, natural recreational and/or s
cenic qualities. Illinois’ seven byways are found in all regions of the state.  To celebrate Scenic Byway Week, an array of fun and exciting events will take place along various byways throughout the state. Visit EnjoyIllinois.com for all the latest information.  And check out the direct link to the Illinois Byways at www.illinoisbyways.org .

Illinois Governor's Conference on Tourism

Please mark your calendars for the 2014 Illinois Governor's Conference on Travel & Tourism. I'm absolutely thrilled with the work the co-chairs, Daniel Thomas and Crystal Howard have taken to bring the conference to downtown Chicago.  Next year's conference will be February 3-5, 2014, at the Palmer House Hilton.  I know the committee is working closely with Illinois Office of Tourism (Jen, Jan, etc.) and other industry partners to bring a dynamic roster of speakers/facilitators to this year's conference.

Lincoln Highway News


The Lincoln Highway has several marketing initiatives underway with American Road Magazine. We will be featuring full page advertisements in each quarterly edition of the magazine, as well as, several of their online opportunities. We will also be highlighted two different times in American Road’s special online spot, Picture of the Month.
We have chosen to participate in a co-op ad space for the Illinois Getaway Guide, which will be distributed nationwide via newspaper.

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:  www.enjoyillinois.com


IL Magnificent Stuff Happens Here:



Chicago and Beyond:  www.chicagoandbeyond.com


Chicago Tourism:  www.choosechicago.org


US Travel Association:  www.ustravel.org


Illinois Council of Convention & Visitors Bureaus: www.iccvb.org


Illinois Wine Industry:  www.illinoiswine.com


Northern Illinois Wine Trail:  


National Scenic Byways:  www.byways.org

Illinois Byways:  www.illinoisbyways.org

Traveling Green:  www.travelgreen.org


Illinois Film Locations:  www.onscreenillinois.com


Power of Travel – info & stats:  www.poweroftravel.org


Power of Travel Coalition:  www.travelcoalition.org


Discover America:  www.discoveramerica.com 


SoMe Tourism:  www.SoMetourism.com

Illinois Wine

Raise a glass to, well, your glass! We have some FUN happenings coming along to celebrate the fabulous Illinois Wine.  And did you know. the Illinois wine industry has exploded in recent years, growing from just 12 wineries in 1997 to over 100 today. During this time, the acreage devoted to grape production has grown at a tremendous rate, with over 1,000 Illinois acres under vines. Today the Illinois wine industry creates a direct economic impact of more than $692 million annually.

IGGVA is the organization that works with the 100 wineries and vineyards in the state.  Did you know there are over 60 varietals of grapes grown here in Illinois?  Wine production has grown in Illinois from 356,500 gallons produced in 2007 to 651,800 gallons in 2012. According to a report commissioned by IGGVA, wine and wine grapes had a $692 million economic impact in the state in 2012, more than double of the impact in 2007, when it was $318 million.  This includes $153 million in wages, which represents 3,887 full-time jobs. The industry saw 500,000 wine-related tourists in 2012 and paid $54 million in federal taxes and $34 million in state and local taxes. Illinois ranks 19th in the nation for gallons of wine produced.

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 www.vacationfun.com .  If you need a case, send an email to Mary (mary@chicagoandbeyond.com)  and she will get it out for you.

AND, in looking ahead, 2014 will be here before you know it.  And as we look ahead, we are already updating content for the Chicago & Beyond 2014 Visitor Guide.  We will be continuing in the style and format established with the new regional publication, and adding in more pages for advertising and content.  Mary Peterson of our office (mary@chicagoandbeyond.com) is working on the content, and once again we are partnering with Wendy Tritt of Trittenhaus Design for the overall production and ad sales.  For info about ads please contact Wendy (wendy@trittenhaus.com).  And as always, we are always seeking new photos for use in the guide and websites, please send images to Mary for use….and let us know if you have specific milestone events or attractions that we can and should highlight.

Watching the Corn Grow


We are doing just that! Illinois Lincoln Highway is always finding new ways to celebrate the history and heritage of the famed byway, especially during its Centennial Year.  This year, working with owners of Jonamac Orchard in Malta, the annual corn maze features the Lincoln Highway’s 100th Anniversary.   

Each year for the past 30 years, Jonamac Orchard has honored a local business, or organization with the design of the corn maze. For 2013, Jonamac cut their corn maze in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Lincoln Highway.  Fall will bring tours of the corn maze and even some night time treks through the maze…and it will surely be some Magnificent Stuff to share.


Website News - chicagoandbeyond.com


Our regional website, www.chicagoandbeyond.com, 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 info@chicagoandbeyond.com.  Thanks!

The Stories of Chicago & Beyond


Chicago & Beyond is finalizing the development of 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 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 asked for nominations from our regional CVBs in the Chicago & Beyond service area. 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…. And based on the popularity demonstrated for this proposed initiative, we anticipate more categories in the upcoming year.  We hope you like the individuals selected to represent the region….and look forward to adding in more content for the upcoming year.

Find Us and our Partners

on Facebook and Twitter


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.




Chicago & Beyond
200 South State Street
Belvidere, IL  61008


Phone/Fax 815.547.3740

Bonnie Heimbach, Exec. Dir.



Mary Peterson



Mary Jo