BY Margaret Galush
BY Belinda Lichty Clarke


Illinois Tourism Keeps Breaking Records With New Initiatives, Including Magazine

Hello readers,

Newly inducted Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism Cory Jobe is wasting no time getting things running with the announcement of new initiatives to boost Illinois visitors as news comes down that the state marks its 4th consecutive record-breaking year.

In 2014, the Illinois tourism industry welcomed more than 109.4 million visitors. That’s an increase of 3.5 percent from 2013. The direct impact meant tax revenues topping $2.7 billion (up by $133.8 million in 2013), which also supported more than 306,000 jobs.

Foodie Culture Hits Gettysburg

The Civil War may be the first thing that comes to one’s mind when thinking of Gettysburg, but a close second should be the food offerings available to the nearly 3.7 million visitors and thousands of meeting and conference attendees each year.

New Farmhouse Restaurant & Conference Center Gets Rustic

The cows are tipping themselves over at Fair Oaks Farms after seeing how amazing the new Farmhouse Restaurant and Conference Center looks. Located just 90 minutes from Chicago in Fair Oaks, Indiana, it’s the nation’s first large-scale “Our Farm, to Your Plate, In Our House” dining concept with 18,000 square feet of space that can accommodate up to 280 guests for lunch and dinner every day in addition to brunch on weekends. About 80 percent of the menu includes ingredients raised on the farm itself or supplied by a few other local growers.

Peoria Keeps the Charm Coming

NOW A FAMOUS catchphrase that has come to define the thoughts and behaviors of the typical American citizen, “Will it play in Peoria?” had its beginnings in the vaudeville scene rampant in the central Illinois riverfront town in the ‘20s and ‘30s. As soon as a new act was ready for the stage, it was tested in a Peoria theater to gauge audience response. If it was not well received, it was either sent back for revisions or canceled altogether. If the vaudeville act played well, however, then it was believed to be destined for success.

Spring Into Springfield: CVB Announced Special Experience Just for Planners

Hello readers,

You’re invited—to a special experience in our state capital. The Springfield CVB has put together a “Walk Where Lincoln Walked” tour just for meeting planners. This behind-the-scenes tour is led by local experts that will provide a flavor of the historic city and all it has to offer for conferences, small meetings and big events.

O'Hare Makes a Nice Landing Place for Planners

In April 2014, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), in partnership with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and mall development company Westfield Corp., unveiled a $26 million revamp of O’Hare’s International Terminal 5. The overhaul added 24 new luxury retail and dining options as well as Chicago’s first airport spa, XpresSpa. Additional Terminal 5 features now include redesigned restrooms, lounge-style seating with outlets and USB ports, new lighting and signage and fixtures, all of which incorporate sustainable and recycled materials.

Hyde Park's Revitalization Makes it Easier Than Ever to Convene South of the City

It's a question he gets asked at least four times a week. “Everyone wants to know where the President’s home is,” chuckles Maurese Nelson, director of sales for the brand-new Hyatt Place Chicago South/University Medical Center. “It’s become quite an attraction around here during the last few years.”


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