The Elgin Area Convention & Visitors Bureau kicked-off the 30th annual National Travel & Tourism Week, May 4- May 12, with the 6th Annual Mayors' Luncheon. Tourism is Illinois' hidden revenue generator; $1,110 is the amount the average Illinois family saves in taxes each year because of Illinois tourism according to the Illinois Council of Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The luncheon was sponsored by BMO Harris Bank and held at one of the Elgin Area's largest attractions, the Grand Victoria Casino. Seven communities served by the Elgin Area Convention & Visitors Bureau sent city officials to speak to almost 150 attendees on the importance of tourism and economic development in their community. Communities included: Elgin, Carpentersville, Gilberts, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, South Elgin and West Dundee. All communities touched on the importance of transportation and the wonderful asset the Fox River Valley is.
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The guest speaker was Jen Hoelzle, Deputy Director, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism. Elgin was her first stop as she plans to visit several communities throughout Illinois to help celebrate what tourism means for the state as a whole.
One of the important tourism statistics she shared in her presentation was, travel puts America to work -- the travel and tourism industry comprises 14.4 million or 1 in every 8 American jobs, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
Hoelzle also stated, "We don't have our final numbers in, but we can say with confidence that we will be breaking at least one travel related record for 2011, which means travel is back! And Illinois is top of mind for travelers!"