December 02, 2021
Local News

Local News

Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau hosts annual Tourism Reception

ST. CHARLES – The Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted its annual Tourism Reception on June 15 at Club Arcada in St. Charles. The reception serves the dual purpose of celebrating the bureau’s accomplishments, while also giving a peek into its plans for the upcoming year. The theme for this year’s event was “Creating the Path for Experiential Travel."

“Tonight is a time of celebration as we reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and continued successes of the bureau. It’s also a time for us to peer into our crystal ball as we look ahead … ,” said Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau President and Q Center General Manager Thomas Donahue in his opening statements.

This past year has been a busy one for the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau. It saw the hiring of new Executive Director Lula S. Cassidy, and also saw the bureau win the Best Visitor Publication award for its 2016-17 Greater St. Charles, Illinois Visitors Guide at the Illinois Governor’s Conference.

“[Lula] has been so wonderful to work with, and she has so many inventive ideas,” said DeAnn Wagner, associate director for the bureau.

Following the opening statements and reflection, the bureau recognized everyone who had made the past year’s success possible. Along with some acknowledgements to exiting board members, the bureau gave out two special awards.

One of the awards presented was the Jim Martin Award, which was made to honor James E. Martin, one of the founders and a former president of the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau, who passed away in March of this year. The award was presented to his son Steve Martin, who also served as a board member and former president of the bureau.

“He, like his father, has been a very positive influence on the visitors bureau,” said Terry Grove, founding member of the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors while presenting the award.

Before moving on to what was in store for the future, the bureau invited Illinois Reps. Steve Andersson, Marcus Evans Jr. and Ann Williams up to speak about what St. Charles’ success meant for the state of Illinois as a whole.

Keynote speaker Williams said that, “We all understand that marketing works and advertising works, but until I really looked at the numbers, I didn’t understand what a huge impact the investment in tourism and marketing really has … .”

Following the speakers, Cassidy began the bureau’s presentation for its plans for the future. In it, the bureau announced several new initiatives that would look to continue the success of the past year by focusing on both the city’s strengths and developing new areas of growth.

“Last August in the Illinois state tourism report, we learned that the greater St. Charles [area] is generating over 50 percent of the revenue in Kane County due to tourism [in 2015],” Cassidy said. “Focusing on our destination as a whole, selling the experience, and connecting those experiences to overnighting in our service area and unique hotel experiences to be more of a solution in our area.”

One of those new initiatives is to make St. Charles a more “film friendly” destination.

“St. Charles has a presence in film. Combine that with Illinois’ 30 percent film tax credit, nationally renowned local crew base, actors, and street vendors, and partners within tourism and the Illinois office of film, there is a great opportunity to grow,” Wagner said.

The bureau’s announcements were met with praise from the event’s attendees.

“They’ve done a lot for the community” said Jim Kunzer, event attendee and president of MCC Technology in St. Charles.