Illinois Closes All of Its Tourist Information Centers

Full story: WQAD

" I'd like a map, please." It's a request that Karen Ullrich hears countless times every day from tourists.
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1 - 20 of 24 Comments Last updated May 13, 2012
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Bill Fold

Chicago, IL

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#1
Jul 15, 2010
 

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They should close ALL tourist centers and subcontract any so called "tourist" information over to those huge 24 hour gas station/food areas. If you need a map, buy one. In this day and age of the internet, people should know what they want to see and where they are going before they even leave. Taxpayers shouldn't have to subsidize the "tourism businesses". If those involved are tourism related businesses are so concerned about this, they should increase their marketing budget. Besides, it's not like Illinois is some hotspot vacation destination of travelers from around the world. Most of the so called tourist that come to Illinois are the "illegal" type anyway, and don't seem to care about the "sites" but only the "jobs". Nuff said. DOWNSIZE THE BLOATED GOVERNMENT.
Bob Lampe

Beaufort, NC

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#2
Jul 15, 2010
 
Illinois Sucks.
After 51 years i finally got smart and moved to another state where it is warm all year round
cjay

Galesburg, IL

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#3
Jul 15, 2010
 
goodjob
petlover123

Galesburg, IL

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#4
Jul 15, 2010
 

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Many people spend many dollars traveling through Illinois.
This is a very sad situation and we need NEW GOVERMENT!!!!
M J Johnson

AOL

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#5
Jul 15, 2010
 

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What a shock. Sure did not know this and I live in Illinois! Have heard nothing on TV, on news on computer, etc. etc.
They are making a big mistake. Tourism is an income.
Bill Fold

Chicago, IL

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#6
Jul 15, 2010
 

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To those that are worried this will affect tourism, I assure you it will not. Tourism is promoted by marketing to targeted audiences (i.e., magazines, televison ad campaigns, travel agents, etc.). Tourism Centers are nothing more than a glorified restroom full of maps for people stopping off the highway. Like I said earlier, in this day and age most people can go on the internet to find out what's a good place to visit in a particular State. You don't need something as wasteful as a "Tourist Center" funded by taxpayers. If someone really wants to visit Illinois, they won't cancel the trip because these places are closed. It's cheaper to sub-contract something like this out to a 24hr super gas station rest stop area anyway. Illinois is in serious financial trouble. This is way at the bottom of "priorities".
Heather

United States

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#8
Jul 16, 2010
 

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We just traveled through other states who have done the same thing. As tourists, we were very disappointed. The internet is useful in planning your vacation but we rely on these facilities for information that is relevant for the area we are passing through and to collect brochures that we can hold in our hand. The people staffed at those facilities are a wealth of knowledge and have created positive impact on tourism for the state. Tourism may not be health care or education, but it is definetely a priority when you are looking for a revenue generator. Illinois Tourism Projects are funded by the tax paid by the visitor who stays in a hotel- who else can say that?
Bill Fold

Chicago, IL

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#9
Jul 16, 2010
 

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Heather, it sounds like you should go "green" and stop collecting brochures. No offense, but when I read your post, you almost sounded like someone who was "cheerleading" for those "jobs" at the Tourist Centers? As far as those taxes that are collected from the "tourists", what can I say other than thank you for giving our ex-Govenor Blago the money to buy all those nice suits..........
Heather

United States

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#10
Jul 16, 2010
 

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Thanks for the advise on how to go "green". I am cheerleading for jobs that create a positive impact on any state. Not all tourists travel directly to one spot and stop- some are a little more spontaneous in life and venture to the unknown. Brochures at these places are like impulse items at the grocery store- we have been known to add a day or two to our trip because we discovered something new. This may not apply to you but it does me, making it much easier for me to "cheer" for this service. Guarantee the same knowledge and service wouldnt exist at a 24-hour gas station.
Jo Ann

Gulf Breeze, FL

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#11
Jul 17, 2010
 
This is STUPID!!! The state is cutting the wrong things. Just
what the ****(oops) will they cut next? No wonder poeple
would go somewhere else to get a map of Ill. or the quad city
area? Because there sure as ****(oops) ain't nothin' around here
no more, that's for ****(oops) sure.
joecool101

Fairfield, IL

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#12
Jul 18, 2010
 

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I think Bill Fold has some issues that are not related to tourism. Get some professional counseling and get a clue , Bill. The employees and information available at Illinois' Iourist Information Centers are paid for by hotel/motel taxes and not by the taxpayers. It is a shame the centers have been closed. I have learned a lot and found many interesting things to do by stopping in and asking. Illinois makes close to 29 Billion (yes, Billion) dollars from tourism each year. People go to Chicago, Springfield, and the Shawnee National Forest as well as other places (I've been to these places and many more) and it's always nice to pick up a brochure and talk to someone to get the inside scoop before going. I hope the closure of these centers are only temporary.
Jeff

Prairie City, IL

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#13
Jul 19, 2010
 

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I eco joecool101...these centers are paid by hotel/motel tax....Bill Fold should go to ****!
Traveler

Dyersville, IA

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#14
Jul 20, 2010
 

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I may not go to a Welcome Center with the intention of planning my vacation, but I certainly stop at these centers to strech and take a break. Every time I've gone in to a Welcome Center I've found out through brochures, exhibits and employees about new destinations I had never heard of, and I've ended up visiting those destinations. Welcome Centers do serve a purpose, which is to keep people in your state spending money, not just at hotels, but service stations, resturants, casinos, theatres, shopping centers etc. This spending supports everybody, it keeps people employed and supports tax initives that provide grant funding to not only the tourism industry, but also education and health care to name a few. These centers support the tourism industry and I think it's very sad legislators in Illinois don't see the value.
Bill Fold

Chicago, IL

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#15
Jul 21, 2010
 
I would disagree with the comments that suggest Tourist Centers aren't funded by taxpayers. Yes, the brochures come from the attraction owners, but who do you think pays for the CENTERS? Why do you think the State closed them if they don't require STATE MONEY. And the positive comments on this page? PLEEEEEASE, give me a break!! It's obvious you are shills that lost your jobs at the tourist centers.
Typical downstate dirt farmers.....
joecool101

Rineyville, KY

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#16
Jul 21, 2010
 
Bill Fold, again please get some counseling. Your stupidity is showing. Obviously someone didn't love you enough (or maybe too much) when you were a kid. The centers are funded through the hotel/motel tax. The centers themselves were operated by a private company that had a contract with the state. Gov. Quinn froze all non-essential state contracts and thus as of July 1, 2010 the centers were shut down due to Illinois' budget crisis. All of this information is readily available on the web but obviously you're too lazy and stupid to look it up. By the way, thanks for spending your money in the Land of Lincoln, you stupid tarheel, whtever that is supposed to be. For now, though, rest assured you're too dumb to even qualify to comment on this subject so just keep drinking that koolaid until the men in the white coats come for you.
Bill Fold

Chicago, IL

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#17
Jul 22, 2010
 
joecool101 (eyes rolling as I write that name ), it's you that needs to understand the law concerning the hotel motel tax. State law says local hotel-motel tax proceeds can be used “solely to promote tourism and conventions within that municipality or otherwise to attract nonresident overnight visitors to the municipality.” In other words, it's used in the LOCALE where it's collected. And if you think it goes strictly for "tourism", you're the one who needs counseling. See Springfield, IL. and the tax being diverted to repair their budget. And you answered the argument in your post when you stated Governor Quinn froze all "NON-ESSENTIAL" State Contracts. Look up that word: "NON-ESSENTIAL". Illinois is facing a deficit in billions, and you dumb whiskey drinking backwater hillbillies are crying about these Tourist Crap Stops on the highway like they are the holy grail of the economy. And what do you care anyway, Mr. Kenfucky.
joecool101

Rineyville, KY

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#18
Jul 22, 2010
 

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Bill Fold, I'm on vacation right now enjoying the beautiful sights around Mammoth Cave. I like to travel all over the country but especially in my beautiful state of Illinois. Your analysis of the hotel/motel tax is completely wrong. Why not call the Illinois Bureau of Tourism and have them explain it to you? Again your anger sure reinforces my opinion of you having a screw loose somewhere. Maybe you had a traumatic experience at a tourist information center when your mommy ran off with a truck driver and abandoned you at one. Whatever the reason just keep spending your money here in Illinois. That's all that matters to me. And, oh yea, the fact that the North beat the Southern slaveholders in the Civil War.
Bill Fold

Chicago, IL

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#19
Jul 23, 2010
 
Mr. joecool101, I guess maybe you are one of the fifty that got laid off? Truthfully, I'm saddened for the people that lost their job by this cut-back. Any disgust would be at the incompetence of those that ran the State finances into the ground.

http://www.mcdonoughvoice.com/news/x699272786...

Just an opinion, and I have done the research, a survey showed that 80% of the people that stopped at these "Centers" stopped for a map. The State can get better results by eliminating these centers and targeting the money better. I would agree Tourism is very important to the economy. But, with the changing demographics, age groups that travel (those that understand computers), etc., these "Centers" are not the best investment overall. With the economy being so bad, tourism numbers are way down right now anyway. Considering the State's financial situation, I can see where these "Centers" can and should be mothballed for now. Other States are doing the same thing. Like I said, there are better ways to target tourist (media coverage) as the majority of high dollar spenders come from overseas to see Chicago.
By the way, I guess since your one of the resident downstate "stump jumpers" from Illinois you naturally think it's a beautiful place. You must not travel very much. A big vacation for you is crossing the State line to get cheap cigarettes and topping it off with a plate of fried bacon grease at Billy Bob's drive thru.
robert arlan

Woodstock, IL

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#20
Jul 23, 2010
 

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Bill Fold you definitely need professional help. Why are you so against Illinois and tourism as a whole? Tourism is big business here. Are you aware that four presidents called Illinois home? Have you ever studied Lincoln in your history classes? The tourist information centers provided valuable assistance to travelers. Illinois offers travelers a wealth of attractions to meet anyone's taste. Have you ever been to Chicago? We have rebuilt it since the Great Chicago Fire. Really. Perhaps you are to busy being hateful to appreciate Illinois. You talk tough being from a city that was a base for the infamous Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker!
robert arlan

Woodstock, IL

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#21
Jul 23, 2010
 

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Bill Fold you are obviously a negative troubled person. You are living proof that not all education is the same. Instead of being critical of Illinois and tourism you should do more research. We are a great state with so much to offer travelers. Did you know that four presidents called Illinois home? Perhaps you aren't a reader. Reading is fundamental you know. Have you ever heard of Chicago? You know it has been rebuilt since the Great Chicago Fire. Really.
North Carolina is a beautiful state. I do hope you appreciate your home state as we do ours. Unfortunately you do not make one want to visit there. Perhaps you are unhappy that Jim and Tammy Bakker are no longer based in Charlotte!

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