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updated: 6/5/2014 4:50 PM

Should Wheeling join tourism bureau? Village board weighing options

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  • At the urging of the Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel, Wheeling officials are considering possible membership in the North Shore Convention & Visitor's Bureau. Membership would cost the village $70,000 in annual dues, plus a one-time $35,000 initiation fee.

      At the urging of the Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel, Wheeling officials are considering possible membership in the North Shore Convention & Visitor's Bureau. Membership would cost the village $70,000 in annual dues, plus a one-time $35,000 initiation fee.
    Daily Herald File Photo

 

At the urging of its premier hotel, the Westin Chicago North Shore, Wheeling might join the North Shore Convention & Visitor's Bureau.

Trustees reacted favorably this week to a presentation by Gina Speckman, the bureau's executive director, and Aaron Bastabla, director of sales and marketing for the Westin.

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"We're the only hotel of its kind -- full service, top tier -- without convention and visitors board representation in the Chicago area," Bastabla said.

The bureau markets the area as a destination for conferences, groups and individuals.

Advocates would like the village board to consider 2015 membership at budget time, said John Melaniphy, the village's director of economic development.

Although Wheeling enjoys new resources to attract visitors -- such as renovations and new amenities at the Westin and the rebuilt Heritage Park -- it also faces fierce competition for tourism dollars, supporters told the village board.

The village would pay about $70,000 in annual dues to the visitor's bureau, plus a $35,000 initial fee for joining. That fee would be spread out over three years. The costs are based on the occupancy tax that hotels pay, and the bureau would also get matching funds from the state's share of the tax.

Current members of the North Shore bureau include Prospect Heights, Evanston, Glenview, Northbrook, Skokie and Winnetka.

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