The Olde Wicks Manufacturing facility occasion venue in Highland set the wealthy, lush stage for ILLINOISouth Tourism Bureau’s re-branding Tuesday.

Protecting 21 counties — from Madison, St. Clair and Monroe close to St. Louis to Clark and Robinson counties northeast of Olney, and as far south as Cairo — the bureau claims it covers extra territory than every other state conference and guests’ bureau.

The group mentioned a lot of downstate Illinois can endure from “eclipse syndrome,” as Chicago tends to outweigh the remainder of the state. However there’s one aspect the place ILLINOISouth has the benefit.

“Our TikTok account is the most important account of any conference and guests’ bureau within the state, even larger than Chicago’s,” mentioned Andy Waterman, the group’s communications director.

On Tuesday he outlined a few of the short-term objectives underneath the rebranding.

“One in every of our objectives is to tell people, not simply in our territory, of our new id however to increase that to a three-to-five-hour drive radius – Chicago, Indianapolis, Paducah – to get people to know there’s a lot in our area that they only don’t find out about,” he mentioned.

He cited a dozen of the World’s Largest Issues in Casey; one of many solely working airboat companies within the state (or the one one) at Carlyle Lake; and the Illinois Caverns, which stretch out for six miles beneath Waterloo.

“All of these are experiences that persons are searching for, particularly when it comes time to get outdoor and persons are already planning for these journeys,” he mentioned.

He added that some points of interest and experiences could be visited within the space for little to no price.

“Our second objective helps these communities [within their territory],” he mentioned. “A few of these communities don’t have the sources to advertise themselves they manner that they need to, so we offer these sources – social media, paid media, digital media, publications, and many others. A few of them don’t have a tourism particular person; for a few of them, the purpose of contact is the chamber of commerce.”

Waterman mentioned that tourism isn’t just “heads-in-beds” anymore with resorts and motels. It’s additionally about financial growth.

“Should you’ve bought a fantastic restaurant, individuals will journey for meals, out of doors adventures and different issues like that,” he mentioned. “Our different largest factor helps these communities that need assist. Tourism expenditures drastically assist a group. When individuals present up, they spend tax {dollars} on meals, gasoline, buying, and many others.”

ILLINOISouth will associate with World Large Expertise Raceway in Madison on a NASCAR occasion in early June and they’re within the early phases of assembling a podcast, which is new territory for the group.

“We’re not stopping at only a rebrand; we’re eager to develop larger and higher in all facets of selling and promotion in our 21 counties,” he mentioned.

Based on the group’s web site, ILLINOISouth is a membership-based group searching for to assist its companions lower your expenses on advertising spend. They specialize within the planning, design, placement and reporting of selling items on a regional, nationwide and worldwide stage.

To be taught extra, go to the group’s web site at