The Galesburg Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is seeing modest gains amidst some economic adversity.
The State of Illinois spent almost no money on tourism marketing last year during the budget impasse.
Also Galesburg Tourism Director Bill Morris says construction on East Main hampered visits somewhat as well.
Despite this modest gains were shown in data Morris presented to Galesburg City Council Monday night.
The demand for hotel rooms rose by 1,000 rooms through 2016, however the supply of rooms rose by 15 percent.
This is because of the new Holiday Inn Express and Baymont Inn and Suites on the east end of town.
Morris also reports that visitors in Galesburg came from 49 of 50 states and 14 countries last year and social media engagement shows growth.
The tourism director also told the council that there are signs that these positive trends are continuing in 2017.
“We are encouraged for 2017 already,” Morris says. “Through February we’ve already seen 398 visitors sign our guest book. That’s an increase of 26.7 percent over 2016 and it’s better numbers than we’ve seen for years.”
Morris says they’re working on a 5-year strategic plan, a new visitor’s guide and a collaborative events calendar.
Additionally a new design for the website could be in the future, as Morris says the current one was built in 2012.
With city improvements at the corridor entering on the east side of town, an LED sign was installed by the Galesburg
Welcome Center that welcomes those arriving in town and alerts motorists of community events.
Morris says he thinks that helped make the Welcome Center more visible.