Area tourism boards team up for summer campaign
Nine tourism organizations in Chicago and the suburbs have joined forces to launch a digital summer campaign encouraging people to spend their vacation dollars in northeastern Illinois.
"The Only Thing Missing is You" is the slogan for the campaign running across social media platforms and the redesigned website visitchicagoland.com through the end of August. It targets out-of-state visitors and local residents to support attractions and businesses within a one-hour drive of downtown Chicago.
"The true value of this regional approach is to maximize the number of eyeballs that see this campaign," said Beth Marchetti, the executive director of DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB).
The partnering tourism organizations are: Chicago Southland, Chicago's North Shore, Choose Chicago, Discover DuPage (part of the DCVB), Explore Elgin Area, Heritage Corridor, Meet Chicago Northwest, Visit Lake County and Visit McHenry County.
The groups were all included last year as part of a Regional Economic Recovery Task Force convened by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
"Tourism and leisure is a cornerstone of our economy, creating jobs and supporting businesses across northeastern Illinois," said CMAP executive director Erin Aleman. "By showcasing our many attractions for visitors and residents alike, we can accelerate our region's economic recovery."
Marchetti acknowledges that area tourism organizations would typically be in friendly competition to win over corporate and group meeting businesses. But this summer, she said, there is a need to "lift all boats" by sharing a unifying message and marketing across each organization's social media platforms.
"What's lovely about the campaign is that we're all equally represented," Marchetti said.
For Discover DuPage's component of the campaign, Marchetti said two major art exhibitions are being promoted: College of DuPage's "Frida Kahlo: Timeless" exhibit in Glen Ellyn and the new "Human+Nature" outdoor sculpture exhibit at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle.
Visit Lake County is promoting the full reopening of Six Flags Great America and Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee as part of the campaign. There are also plans to highlight Lake County's beaches and boating as summer progresses.
"We all have funding challenges right now and this is a chance to maximize investment and work together to bring travelers back," said Maureen Riedy, the president of Visit Lake County.
Reidy said "The Only Thing Missing is You" campaign also dovetails nicely with a statewide tourism campaign from Enjoy Illinois. That's called "Time for Me to Drive," which specifically encourages Illinois road trips.
"We've all seen over the course of last year how important the hospitality and tourism industry is to the economy," she said. "We've got to get visitors and residents back out to experience our attractions and restaurants."
"The Only Thing Missing is You"Here's a sampling of suburban attractions highlighted in the regional tourism campaign at visitchicagoland.com:
• Chicago's North Shore (visitchicagonorthshore.com): "Butterflies & Blooms" at Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake-Cook Road, Glencoe. Many live butterfly species in a special exhibit, May 29-Sept. 6; chicagobotanic.org/butterflies
• Discover DuPage (discoverdupage.com): "Frida Kahlo: Timeless" at College of DuPage's Cleve Carney Museum of Art, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. Art exhibit runs June 5-Sept. 6; frida2021.org
• Explore Elgin Area (exploreelginarea.com): Fridays on the Farm with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra at Goebbert's Farm, 42W813 Reinking Road, Pingree Grove. Summer concerts in an outdoor tent, 2 and 7 p.m. Fridays, July 2 and Aug. 6; elginsymphony.org/concerts
• Heritage Corridor (heritagecorridorcvb.com): The Forge: Lemont Quarries, 1001 Main St., Lemont. Adventure park open year-round with ropes courses, zip lines, climbing walls and more. forgeparks.com.
• Meet Chicago Northwest (chicagonorthwest.com): Top Golf, 2050 Progress Parkway, Schaumburg. Year-round golf driving range and restaurant. topgolf.com/us/schaumburg
• Visit Lake County (visitlakecounty.org): Six Flags Great America and Hurricane Harbor, 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee. Amusement park and water park. sixflags.com/greatamerica
• Visit McHenry County (visitmchenrycounty.com): Glacial Park Conservation Area, 6316 Harts Road, Ringwood. More than 490 acres of dedicated nature preserve in a 3,439-acre park. mccdistrict.org