On Friday, February 10th, Governor J. B. Pritzker signed Illinois HB0268 Tourism Preservation and Sustainability District Act into law. This law allows for the creation of tourism marketing and recovery district throughout the state. Senator, Sara Feigenholtz states, “This bill creates a lifeline for destination development activities-ensuring that tourism and hospitality operations in every corner of Illinois can count on a sustainable, business-led local fund to help promote the world-class attractions we have to offer.”
Like so many of our destinations in the United States, the COVID-19 Pandemic presented new and more complicated obstacles for funding Destination Marketing Organizations in Illinois.
“In the years coming out of COVID, a lot of cities and states have doubled down on that investment [in tourism] to makes sure that they remain competitive in the very changing landscape of winning a traveler over,” said Michael Jacobson, President of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association. “When you look at the additional funds that those districts have generated to local convention and visitor bureaus, our Illinois… groups were falling behind,” Jacobson said.
Seeking to provide a stable solution for the industry, the Illinois Council of Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, under the leadership of Dave Herrell (Visit Quad Cities), John Groh (Visit Rockford), and JD Dalfonso (Discover Peoria), Lynn Osmond and James Mundo (Choose Chicago), in partnership with the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, led by President Michael Jacobson, teamed up to support the Tourism Marketing & Recovery Law, enabling legislation for all municipalities in Illinois.
“Tourism Improvement Districts are working around the country, and Illinois must remain competitive in driving overnight demand and increasing visitor spending. This private/public sector solution and business-led districts will allow destinations, should they choose, the opportunity to identify additional resources to compete for meetings, events, group business, and leisure travel,” said Dave Herrell, President & CEO of Visit Quad Cities. “I want to sincerely thank Senator Sara Feigenholtz, Representative Ann Williams, Governor Pritzker, the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, ICCVB members, and our partners at Civitas for their strategic guidance and efforts to help us create this historic legislation and opportunity for the travel and tourism industry in Illinois.”
This group dedicated three hard years of work to make sure a better funding mechanism was available for the tourism industry in the state. Congratulations to all those who worked to keep Illinois’ travel industry and tourism recovery top of mind.
The first state to enact statewide enabling TID legislation in 2023, Illinois follows the 2022 TID Law passed in Rhode Island, as well as Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Virginia passed in 2021.
Civitas worked closely with the Illinois DMOs and Lobbyist Lindsay Anderson of Turing Strategies to draft and pass HB0268. If you have questions about the new legislation, please contact Tiffany Gallagher at email@example.com.