Peoria Area CVB

The Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is focusing more attention on attracting both tourists and locals to area destinations.

Chicago set a new tourism record last year, attracting more than 57.6 million visitors during 2018.

Continuing last year's record-setting growth, Chicago set new tourism records in the first months of 2018.

The Illinois Office of Tourism is planning to expand and open offices in China and Mexico to attract foreign visitors and help boost the state's tourism industry.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

A 31-foot tall bronze sculpture of Abraham Lincoln was crane lifted from the back of a semi onto a concrete base, behind the Peoria Riverfront Museum, on Tues. A variety of spectators gathered on the museum terrace overlooking Water St. to watch the installation. 

Tourism officials in southern Illinois say about 200,000 people traveled to the 16-county region to watch the total solar eclipse.

Jeremy Johnson / Wikimedia Commons

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - The World Taxidermy and Fish Carving Championships trade show has drawn far-flung enthusiasts to Peoria.

David Zalubowski / AP Photo

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois state lawmakers are considering a proposal that could make Illinois the first state in the Midwest and the ninth nationally to legalize recreational pot.

IHSA March Madness Returns to Peoria

Mar 9, 2017
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The next two weekends in Peoria mean big bucks for the city’s tourism and hospitality business.

Pere Marquette Hotel in downtown Peoria will remain a Marriott.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The impact of Illinois' budget impasse has reached Springfield's hotel industry, which is reporting a four-year low in bookings.

Flickr Creative Commons/EFF Photos

Illinois' capital city has launched free Wi-Fi in downtown areas. The wireless network is best for outdoor use and might not work indoors.  Mayor Jim Langfelder says the free high speed Wi-Fi is a step toward improving economic and visitor appeal to downtown. 

New Caterpillar Exhibit Gives Nod to Forebearer

Jul 7, 2016
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The Caterpillar Visitors Center is offering a look at the life of its first chairman and the inventor of the Best 60 Tractor.

  That became the Caterpillar 60, thought to be one of the most successful track type tractors in history.  C.L.‘Leo’ Best was the founder and president of C.L. Best Tractor Company that eventually merged with Holt, making Holt Best Tractor Company. That was the forerunner to Caterpillar.     

Lee Fosberg is the Supervisor of Corporate Heritage Services at Caterpillar. He says they’ve colorized 25 of the photos throughout the display.

Cubs Have Names, Personalities

Apr 7, 2016
Peoria Zoo

The three female lion cubs born in December at the Peoria Zoo now have names.

The zoo says in a news release, staff selected three African names for each cub based on their distinct personalities. The public then voted in a naming contest.

The names are Nia, Kali and Zuri -- meaning Brightness, Energetic and Beautiful.

Doug Wallick / Flickr/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Council of Convention & Visitors Bureaus contends that ongoing budget uncertainty and marketing budget cuts put the state at risk of losing thousands of tourism jobs.

A study released Monday shows a 20 percent cut from $63.8 million for tourism marketing in fiscal 2014 would cost the state $2.3 billion in visitor spending. Also at risk are 4,600 jobs and nearly $200 million in taxes over four years. The estimate was based on 2014 tourism visits and spending. 

Illinois Office of Tourism

Peoria saw a rise in tourism and convention dollars last year. That was the message delivered today by the director of the Illinois Office of Tourism during statewide tour stop in Peoria.

State  numbers show a 4.75 percent increase in tourism expenditures in the Peoria area. That amounts to a total economic impact of about $665 million and $15 million  in tax receipts for the Peoria area.

Illinois Tourism Director Cory Jobe says the numbers make a strong case for continued investment in the industry.

Illinois advocates for the arts say Governor Bruce Rauner's plan for more budget cuts is bad policy. Since 2007, the budget for the Illinois Arts Council Agency has already been cut in half.  Under Rauner's guidance, it would drop another 20 percent, down to $8 million.Ra Joy heads an organization that represents hundreds of artists and cultural groups in the state.

The city of Pekin has launched a new tourism website.  The city spent about $5,000 on the website funded by the city's hotel and motel tax.

Illinois' tourism numbers set another record in 2013, bringing in over 100-million visitors to the state.  State agencies aim to grow those numbers more in the face of budget cuts.