DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau earns state award for Out and About app

Organizational achievements in the Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards were recently recognized by the state.

Athena Award nominee Cortney Strohacker, executive director of the DeKalb County Convention
​& Visitors Bureau, listens Tuesday as Cohen Barnes, who nominated her for the award, talks about her achievements and attributes during the DeKalb Chamber’s 31st annual Athena Award celebration at the Stage Coach Theater in DeKalb.

DeKALB – The DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau earned state recognition this week for its Out and About digital app, which helps provide a guide for area visitors and residents to the county’s historic locations and sites.

The county bureau was among those agencies recognized this week by the Illinois Office of Tourism for its contributions to the tourism industry during the Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards ceremony.

“To be recognized as one of the best of the best by our tourism industry peers is a great honor,” said bureau Executive Director Cortney Strohacker in a news release. “We are a relatively a small bureau, but we have great partners in the DeKalb County History Center, DeKalb County Community Foundation and DeKalb County Economic Development Corporations to help us accomplish big things like the Out and About app.”

The county bureau received Best Cooperative Partnership in the budget B category – for bureau’s with budgets of $750,00 or less.

The program took place Dec. 5 through 7, during the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Travel, which Gov. J.B. Pritzker attended.

In his remarks, Pritzker lauded the work of state leaders from the tourism industry.

“It is an incredible honor to celebrate and recognize our state’s tourism industry leaders and innovators who work incredibly hard each day to make Illinois a premier travel destination,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Their tourism marketing efforts have made an impact in their communities, reinvigorating local economies, and putting a spotlight on what makes Illinois an exceptional destination. As tourists gear up for a busy holiday travel season, we’re ready to welcome visitors near and far to experience everything Illinois has to offer, boosting our hospitality industry and bringing revenue to Illinois businesses.”

Navigation sign to locations inside the City of DeKalb at the intersection of Peace Road and Route 38 in DeKalb, IL on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

The Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards strives to honor marketing and advertising initiatives from convention and visitor bureaus and tourism destinations to attractions and innovators throughout the state who make Illinois shine, according to a news release. The work of award recipients underwent review in nine categories, ranging from best public relations and social media marketing campaigns to best event or festival.

“We are very proud of our history and agricultural heritage here in DeKalb County,” said Strohacker. “The Out and About self-guided touring app helps people discover and explore the county’s historic locations and learn about some of the agricultural innovations and events that not only shaped our community but have significantly impacted our nation and the world.”