The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

July 14, 2013

Tourism boosts economy


DANVILLE — Visitors to Vermilion County continue to add considerable fuel to the local economy, according to data released last week by the Danville Area Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.

Jeanie Cooke, the bureau’s director, said tourists spent $78 million in the county during 2012, which generated tax revenue of almost $1.8 million for local government.

The piece of the local economy tied to tourism has seen significant growth during the past 20 years. Cooke said visitors spent about $30 million locally in 1991, compared to the $78 million they spent last year.

The best part about the news is that Vermilion County has so much more potential to attract even more visitors who will add even more dollars to the local economy.

Located with three hours or so of three major cities — Indianapolis, Chicago and St. Louis — the county’s attractions could gain even more notice in the years ahead.

The array of natural resources for recreation — the Vermilion Conservation District’s beautiful parks, Kickapoo State park, the Harry “Babe” Woodyard Natural Area and the Middlefork Recreation Area with its national scenic river — helps bring visitors here.

The area’s special events such as the National Junior College Athletic Association Men’s Division II National Basketball Tournament and Arts in the Park also attract visitors.

The county’s historic sites, the Vermilion County Museum, Vermilion County War Museum and the growth of unique specialty shops in downtown Danville and in nearby communities bring in tourists as well.

The staff at the convention and visitors’ bureau does a good job of assisting those who want to take a trip to Vermilion County.

All these factors great a solid foundation for future growth of Vermilion County’s tourism industry. It’s an asset that continues to pay big dividends.