• State Representative Received Illinois Office of Tourism Lincoln Award

    POSTED August 19, 2014

Jen Hoelzle, director of the Illinois Office of Tourism, presented State Representative Fred Crespo (44th District Illinois) with the Illinois Office of Tourism’s Lincoln Award, honoring his contributions as a member of the tourism community, at the Illinois Office of Tourism Road Show at the Trickster Art Gallery in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Leading the passage of legislation to aid the financial effort for hosting IPW 2014, Representative Crespo was recognized for his assistance in helping to make the multi-day event possible. IPW is the biggest travel trade event in the U.S. held in Chicago last April for the first time in 16 years. The event involved more than $4 billion worth of travel negotiation to the U.S. with the host city expected to see an estimated increase of one million international visitors in the three years following the conference, resulting in a $1.6 billion economic impact.

Representative Crespo’s advocacy for tourism resulted in the state helping fund event costs, a partnership with National Geographic, and much more to ensure the success of IPW. His aid also alleviated the financial burden on local convention and visitor bureaus for post familiarization tours, allowing Illinois to showcase the state to international tourism decision makers from all over the world.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism is celebrating a third consecutive year of record-breaking tourism industry numbers as part of its annual five-day, 17-stop “Road Show” tour around Illinois. A special presentation at the Trickster Art Gallery in Schaumburg, Illinois included updates on local visitor data, job creation, revenue growth and tourism initiatives from tourism officials.

“The continued increase in visitors to Illinois year-over-year proves that both leisure and business travelers are increasingly considering Illinois as a premier travel destination, providing a direct economic benefit for communities across the state, like the Chicago Northwest region,” said Jen Hoelzle, director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. “With our marketing and promotional efforts, like the popular MiniAbe campaign, we are inspiring travelers from across the country and around the world to come discover what makes Illinois such a wonderful place to visit.”

In 2013, Illinois’ tourism industry hosted nearly 105.7 million visitors, which resulted in an increase of 4.5 percent over 2012, generating $2.6 billion in revenue.

“Meet Chicago Northwest is proud to be part of the overall success of Illinois’ continued increase in attracting visitors to our state," said Dave Parulo, president of Meet Chicago Northwest. "As one example, visitors occupied 2.218 Million guest rooms in the 62 hotels in the Meet Chicago Northwest region in 2013 contributing a conservative $243.9 million in direct economic impact.” 

Locally in 2013, travelers to Illinois spent more than $21 billion in Cook County, an increase of 3.8 percent, supporting over 190,000 jobs. In Dupang County, travelers spent more than $2.38 billion, an increase of 3.1 percent, supporting 21,300 jobs.

After almost 20 years of vacancy, the Cook County Hospital in Chicago will be put to use once again. A $150 million adaptive reuse project restored the historic, 106-year-old hospital, which has become a combined Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotel, as well as medical offices, a museum, a food hall and more. While the opening is multi-phased, the hotels are scheduled to open in late July.  


Jumpstarting tourism in cities across the country will be more complicated than simply opening doors again – especially in cities with large populations like Chicago. However, working together proves more effective, and in Chicago, more than 250 businesses are banding together to join Choose Chicago’s new initiative, Tourism & Hospitality Forward. It bolsters a safe reopening that encourages tourism as well as meetings and events in


Due to COVID-19, non-essential travel was, or has been, banned for months. Long anticipated trips and in-person gatherings were canceled and people have adjusted to the new normal: staying at home and meeting over Zoom. However, states have been slowly lifting restrictions, and non-essential travel will soon be happening across the country again. However, some may not be as comfortable with the thought of traveling as they were before the pandemic.