DuPage tourism study emphasises working together

  • Itasca Mayor Jeff Pruyn welcomes the international delegates at Eaglewood Resort & Spa during an event in 2014. The DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau showcased the county's hospitality to visitors of the U.S. Travel Association. Now the bureau is seeking ways for all groups in the county to work together on marketing.

    Itasca Mayor Jeff Pruyn welcomes the international delegates at Eaglewood Resort & Spa during an event in 2014. The DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau showcased the county's hospitality to visitors of the U.S. Travel Association. Now the bureau is seeking ways for all groups in the county to work together on marketing. DAILY HERALD FILE PHOTO 2014

  • Beth Marchetti

    Beth Marchetti

 
 
Updated 10/27/2016 8:38 AM

The DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau is suggesting that local towns and organizations work together instead of compete in an effort to grow the area's tourism industry.

The bureau is expected to present preliminary findings today that urge agencies, such as the DuPage County forest preserves, along with the towns within DuPage County to collaborate on future marketing plans. Otherwise, bureau leaders say they'll just continue to compete against each other for tourists and events.

 

"We need to have one voice," said the group's Executive Director Beth Marchetti.

The bureau plans to release the findings of a four-month study during its annual meeting Thursday. A final report and proposed solutions could be presented to the county board early next year.

In July, DuPage County said it wanted to do a tourism makeover after a strategic consultant was hired to hold town meetings to gather ideas. Mitch Nichols, founder of Bellingham, Washington-based Nichols Tourism Group, led the initiative. He previously has worked with the Chicago Office of Tourism, the Grand Canyon National Park, Sonoma County, California, among others.

After input was reviewed, the strategic plan is expected to call for better internal cooperation between all tourist related organizations, new and better integrated product offerings and stronger outreach to the business and leisure tourism markets. It focuses heavily on 38 communities working together to capture more tourism.

Marchetti said that DuPage tourism industry is about $2.5 billion, second only to Chicago, but faces fierce competition.

DuPage tourism also accounts for about 22,000 jobs with a payroll of $600 million. And while DuPage County tourism grew during 2015, market share fell slightly. That market loss means $27 million was not spent, and $500,000 in tax revenue was not received in DuPage County, Marchetti said.

"We need to create a message that resonates with visitors who understand what DuPage is and what it has to offer," she said.

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