On Wednesday, May 6, Visit Champaign County hosted their annual Toast to Tourism event at Parkland College Theater. The event recognizes the impact of tourism in Champaign County. Travel and tourism in Champaign County is reported to create over 2,500 jobs, generate over $63M in payroll and result in $306M in direct spending. This represents an increase of 2.7% over last year.
The event also presents Tourism Impact Awards to individuals advancing the cause of tourism in Champaign County. This year’s award winners were Leslie Cooperband and Wes Jarrell from Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery; John Laskowski from Stevie Jay Broadcasting; Lynne Srull, Jefferson Archery; Peter T. Tomaras, Consultant and Jamarr Turner from Aroma Café.
Cory Jobe, Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism was the keynote speaker for the event where he emphasized the impact of tourism throughout Illinois and recognized Champaign County for their important contributions. Following the event, staff from the Planning and Development Department along with Visit Champaign County gave Cory a tour of downtown Champaign highlighting the recent redevelopment projects and showcasing the unique blend of locally owned businesses throughout downtown.
Rob Kowalski, Assistant Planning and Development Director and Councilmember Marci Dodds both represent the City of Champaign on the Board of Visit Champaign County.