Hello readers,

Things are amping up for the 2016 Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism, which heads to Springfield this year, from March 21 through March 23. Here are the latest updates you should know and info on registering:

Meet the Keynotes

This pair has a combined 60-plus years of experience in travel and tourism. First is CBS News Travel Expert and Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter and producer Peter Greenberg. He appears regularly on The Early Show, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and CBS Sunday Morning, in addition to contributing to AARP, Men’s Health, ForbesTraveler.com and Oprah.com. There’s also Doug Lansky, author of titles for Lonely Planet and Rough Guides and former host of the Travel Channel and a syndicated travel column that appeared in 40 newspapers. Lansky has also contributed to National Geographic Traveler, Reader’s Digest, Esquire, Men’s Journal, The Guardian, National Geographic Adventure and Huffington Post. He has lived in more than 120 countries.

There’s Additional Speakers

Two more main speakers for the conference have now been announced. They include Christopher L. Thompson, president and CEO of Brand USA, a public-private partnership creating marketing and promotional opportunities to increase international visitors to the U.S. The other key speaker is Laura Sardegna, head of industry for Catalyst at Google, which delivers digital media solutions to clients in travel, finance, pharma, health services, retail, auto and technology. They round out a total of 14 speakers over the course of three days.

A Museum Field Trip is Included

Since you’ll be in Springfield anyway, it’s a good time to get more acquainted with the meaning behind Land of Lincoln. With every full registration, you’ll receive a complimentary VIP admission to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. Current exhibits include “History to Hollywood” and “Art in the Atrium.” Presently on display is also Lincoln’s stovepipe hat, Mary’s music box and numerous other artifacts.

Enter the Excellence Awards

Have an outstanding destination, must-know attraction or did you host a newsworthy event? Enter your organization into the Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards that honor innovative tourism marketing initiatives throughout the State. The winning entries will be announced at the Awards Ceremony dinner on Monday night, March 21 and included in media releases and newsletters.

Volunteers Are Needed

One of the more worthwhile activities during the three-day summit is the Illinois VolunTourism (IVT), a chance to come together and give back to the historic attractions that make Illinois a great tourism destination. During this outing, volunteers will clean flowerbeds, trim bushes and spruce up Illinois’ War Memorials for the visiting season. With every $25 registration, attendees will receive a t-shirt, water bottle and a network opportunity at an exclusive cocktail reception. (To register, first select your conference registration package, and on the next page under “options,” there will be a checkbox to select for the IVT.)

And in case you needed the basic info, here’s all the details to know for the 2016 Illinois Governor’s Conference:

  • WHEN: March 21-23, 2016
  • WHERE: President Abraham Lincoln Springfield - a DoubleTree by Hilton; 
  • 701 E Adams St, Springfield, IL 62701
  • EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION: $230 for single day; $450 for three-day pass
  • ROOM RATES: $119+ tax

You can register here.

Happy Planning! 

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