Springfield Tourism: More Than Just Abe?
Historic sites. Abraham Lincoln. Food. Location.
Whatever drives people to Springfield, the capital city is rebounding when it comes to tourism.
"We were over the national average (in 2013) with a 4.8% increase," said Gina Gemberling, Acting Executive Director of the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. "People are out traveling more, definitely. But also, the normal families....mom and dad are both working, the kids are busy in sporting events and all kinds of activities. The trends are changing a bit. Instead of one large vacation a year, families tend to be taking more 3 day trips, 4 day trips."
"Springfield is a perfect 3-4 day destination," she added.
There's more to do than just visit Lincoln sites, although the former president is still a huge draw. Springfield attracts visitors to downtown events, theatrical productions and even foodies find it a cool destination.
New marketing strategies are next on the horizon. That will launch with a fall campaign called "16 Things To Do In Springfield." It will list 16 activities on a website. Along with the obvious effort to get people to the area, the web metrics will help officials see what grabs the most attention.
A "spring break" campaign will happen early next year.
In 2013, Sangamon County tourism spending was $406.8 million. Along with bringing in tax revenue, more than 3,200 people are employed in the tourism industry in the county.