4,600 jobs and $2.3 billion dollars in visitor spending would be lost over the next four years if Illinois reduces the state’s tourism budget 20 percent according to a study conducted by Tourism Economics.
Executive Director for the Galesburg Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Bill Morris adds that tourism dollars pay for themselves and “then some.”
Specifically, Morris says that Galesburg has more attraction for tourists than residents might realize, attractions that translate into economic invigoration.
“There are some challenges that we all have because we’re situated in the state of Illinois but we’re a wonderful tourism attraction,” Morris says. “And that is another way to grow jobs and bring revenue into our city.”
Morris reminds residents that they might take for granted things like cornfields and music venues as a draw for out- of-towners.
He tells Galesburg Live on WGIL this still rings true for the draw of Galesburg’s most famous literary son.
“People are very engaged with what Carl Sandburg had to say,” Morris says. “He was the common man’s poet.”
The Carl Sandburg birthplace site has never closed down amidst the 10 months of budget standoff in Illinois and Morris says that he hopes the site can thrive regardless of possible state cuts through a recently established endowment.
City Manager Todd Thompson at a City Council work session in February presented an option to replace the GACVB with a one person marketing position, but is not recommending th $80,000 cost saving measure at this time.