The Illinois Office of Tourism has published its 2022 spring/summer issue of Enjoy Illinois, a popular travel and trip-planning guidebook that can be found at rest stops, travel centers, hotels and convention complexes across Illinois and beyond. Featured in this issue is a two-page advertisement promoting LaSalle County – home of Starved Rock State Park and many other noted tourism destinations within Starved Rock Country.
The prominent two-page ad was a cooperative program between LaSalle County Tourism and the seven local restaurants and lodging and recreational attractions featured across the spread. Partners for this installment included Downtown Streator, August Hill Winery/The Illinois Sparkling Co., Camp Aramoni, Tangled Roots Brewing Company, Downtown Ottawa, Hegeler Carus Mansion, and Starved Rock Lodge.
This ad is the latest initiative by the LaSalle County Tourism Committee, the stewards of the Enjoy LaSalle County promotional brand. Chaired by LaSalle County Board Member Jill Bernal, the committee meets monthly to strategize tourism marketing campaigns, aid nonprofit organizations and events through funding requests, and secure ad space to promote LaSalle County across print, digital, television and billboards.
The county’s tourism endeavors are funded by pillow-tax dollars, collected from lodging establishments in unincorporated areas of LaSalle County. The tourism committee ensures these funds are appropriately spent to promote more overnight stays and spending among LaSalle County’s small businesses and restaurants.
To stay up to date with an always changing industry, representatives from the LaSalle County Tourism Committee regularly attend the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism, where they network with leaders of fellow communities and attend educational breakout sessions. In past years, the county has won several statewide awards for its multimedia promotional campaigns.
The Enjoy LaSalle County ad, the only two-page spread featured in the spring/summer issue of Enjoy Illinois, was coordinated by the Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau. It promotes visitor experiences and overnight stays through tourism partnerships within the communities and counties along the historic I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor, which stretches from just southwest of Chicago through Starved Rock Country. The Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau officially is certified by several counties along the route, including Bureau, Grundy, Livingston, Putnam, Will and LaSalle.
Annually, LaSalle County works with the Heritage Corridor CVB to promote the Flock to the Rock event, a three-month window of activities and promotional deals that invite visitors to take part in some winter eagle watching. This year, a new summer cooperative campaign will be launched, Libations Live, which will promote the region’s many nightlife and live music opportunities.
Bernal, who was placed on the LaSalle County Tourism Committee more than a decade ago, and has served on the Heritage Corridor board of directors for eight years, works alongside Heritage Corridor CVB President and CEO Bob Navarro to secure state tourism grants. The last round of county grant applications resulted in the funding of a series of television commercials through Effectv, targeted digital ads and the publication of an Enjoy LaSalle County guidebook and road trip brochure.
“We are thrilled to partner with LaSalle County Tourism to promote the area’s parks and outdoor recreational opportunities,” Navarro said at a recent County Tourism Committee meeting. “LaSalle County Tourism, under Jill Bernal’s leadership, has been very active both locally and statewide regarding tourism promotion and development. LaSalle County Tourism understands the importance of advertising outside the area to bring them into [the] Starved Rock Area.”
The Heritage Corridor CVB recently opened a new Starved Rock Country Welcome Center & Illinois Made Gift Shoppe in downtown Utica. LaSalle County supported this project promoting Illinois makers and artisans. Navarro indicated one of the top-sellers is Fine Field Pottery from Streator, designated an Illinois Made maker.
A new installment of the county’s popular Road Trip Guide is set to be published in early May, and will be distributed to over 85 locations throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri. The guide will feature maps for all of the county’s state parks, event listings for communities across the county, and pre-built road trip itineraries for easy planning.
From county-funded rack cards for attractions and events like the I&M Canal and Streator’s 4th of July Celebration, to the new 56-page Road Trip Guide and Enjoy Illinois advertisement, look for LaSalle County next time you browse a brochure stand.
For more information, be sure to follow Enjoy LaSalle County on Facebook and Instagram.