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updated: 7/25/2012 12:05 PM

Suburban tourism -- and tax revenues -- increase

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  • The Schaumburg Boomers are among the draws for tourists to the area.

      The Schaumburg Boomers are among the draws for tourists to the area.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Jan Kostner

    Jan Kostner


Local counties were among those gaining the most tourism dollars across the state during 2011, which is fueling a so-called road show with state officials touting those numbers to help keep the momentum going.

Cook and DuPage counties saw revenues climb more than 8 percent. Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties saw about 6 percent more revenue pouring back in after some tough years, according to the Illinois Office of Tourism and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

To mark those positive numbers, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Deputy Director Jan Kostner will bring her 2012 Illinois Road Show to the Schaumburg Stadium, home of the Schaumburg Boomers, at 1 p.m. on Thursday. The Schaumburg event is also hosted by the Woodfield Chicago Northwest Convention Bureau.

"Schaumburg has been a great tourism area with its sporting and business events," Kostner said. "They're an example of doing things well. But all the counties did well and we'll be traveling to more cities to talk about it."

The Schaumburg stop is one of eight on the tour, which started Monday in Marion. Other stops included Rockford, Springfield, Alton, Champaign and Peoria.

David Parulo, president of the Woodfield Chicago Northwest Convention Bureau, said their major attractions, besides the Boomers, include Woodfield Mall, Arlington Park and about 60 hotels and convention centers.

"When the state reached out to us to plan this event, we thought about what we'd like to showcase and we were anxious to show something new and that would be the Boomers," he said.

Cook County, which includes Schaumburg, Chicago and other cities, had garnered about $19 billion of tourism dollars in 2011, an 8.4 percent increase over 2010. Next up was DuPage County which received $2.1 billion, an increase of 8.1 percent.

Overall, the state got a record $31.8 billion during 2011, an increase of 8.4 percent from 2010. The number of visitors in Illinois also set a record with 93.3 million in 2011, up 10.2 percent from 2010 and passing the previous record of 91 million in 2006.

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