State of the State: The Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism is Coming Soon

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Hello readers, It’s that time of year again—when the whole state gathers for the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism. This year’s event will focus on “The Power of People and Travel” and will be held in Springfield, March 19–22. Registration is now open, and with all these special details to look forward to, reserve your spot now before spots fill up.

The Speakers

Featured guests will include…

-Cory Jobe, Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism who draws in international visitors through marketing and development efforts.

-Don Wildman, Host of the Travel Channel show, Mysteries at the Museum, that introduces viewers to iconic or obscure institutions and all their relics.

-Paul Moya, Harvard Millennials Expert with the full-service consulting firm called Millennial Labs, trusted by brands like Citibank and Microsoft to solve complex generational challenges in the workplace, marketplace and voting booth.

-Erik Qualman, former head of marketing at Travelzoo and author of best-selling book, Socialnomics. He’s also considered a Fast Company Top 100 Digital Influencer.

The Awards

The Excellence in Tourism Awards will return in 2017, recognizing local standouts that created innovative initiatives in nine categories: Best Leisure Collateral, Best Social Media Marketing, Best Cooperative Partnership, Best Branding Initiative, Best Website, Best Visitors Publication, Best Event or Festival, Best Tourism Marketing Campaign and Best Friend of Tourism.

Eligible nominees include DMCs, CVBs, Chambers of Commerce, tourist attractions, cultural institutions, restaurants and bars, hotels, retail and entertainment centers and other hospitality-related organizations. Submit your entry here before Feb. 1. Winners will be announced during the conference at a special dinner on March 20.

The Tradeshow

The exhibitor hall will be full of vendors and CVBs, including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, Casey’s General Store, Meredith Travel Marketing and Great Rivers Country, with more to be announced.

The Mentorship Program

New this year, the “Tour-Wisdom Mentorship Program” is aimed to pair first-timers with experienced attendees who can help them navigate the conference to get the best possible experience. It’s also an opportunity to build relationships with fellow industry insiders. Email about becoming a mentor or being paired with one.

The Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism will be held March 19-22 at the President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – A Doubletree by Hilton in the historic downtown district. Book here to get the special $119 rate (plus tax) for both single or twin/double rooms.

Happy Planning!
Selena Fragassi
Illinois Meetings + Events

Members of The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association (IHLA) placed their bets for a good cause this summer at the 11th annual Pony Up for the Kids fundraiser event, held at Arlington International Racecourse. Proceeds went directly into a fund for the IHLA Educational Foundation Scholarship program, which provides financial assistance to local students pursuing degrees in hospitality. (See the latest winners on page 45.) To date, the program has awarded $400,000 to deserving students. Guests were able to enjoy the racecourse’s private Beverly D.


The work of Bob Doepel and his staff at Chicago Scenic Studios speaks for itself, having produced some of the most iconic sets for museums, TV and film and corporate events.


Meeting planners have more options than ever outside the city.