The most successful year for Jacksonville tourism on record was celebrated last night.
The Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted the celebration at their offices on East State Street, with plenty in attendance to hear the JACVB announcing new projects, Mayor Andy Ezard declaring the 2016 stats and congratulating the efforts of the community to enhance tourism, and the announcement of this year’s JACVB “Friend of Tourism” award.
JACVB Executive Director Brittany Henry revealed a new sign to be posted at the entrances to Jacksonville as part of ‘Looking for Lincoln’ in commemoration of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area.
Mayor Ezard spoke briefly to address the many aspects of tourism Jacksonville has to offer and to encourage the people of the Jacksonville community to continue supporting this city.
“Our famous Midwest hospitality, along with our town’s great natural and historic beauty, unique attractions, and exciting experiences make Jacksonville a home away from home.
“Whereas travel and tourism matters in Jacksonville and to the residents and have been long recognized for their importance to our town’s economy.
“Now therefore I, Andy Ezard, Mayor of the city of Jacksonville, Illinois, do hereby proclaim May 6th through 12th, 2018 as National Travel and Tourism Week in the city of Jacksonville and urge all the citizens of our great community to join me in the special observance of appreciation for the tourism and all the hard work that all of you give to our community.”
In addition, the 2018 “Friend of Tourism” award was given to Michelle Foreman-Smith, General Manager of the Hampton Inn on West Morton. Foreman-Smith says she does everything for Jacksonville with the support of Hampton Inn.
“I’m very proud of where I work and who I work with. If it wasn’t for the company that I work for, then I wouldn’t be able to do all of this. They are all about giving back to the community and doing what we can to make sure that people get what they need.”
Foreman-Smith outlines some of the efforts she has been able to lead in the community.
“We love to get out and do community support. Meals on Wheels was a big thing last year. One of our biggest things this past year was the Blanket Drive – this is our second year that we’ve done it. A couple of new things coming up this year is our care packages that we’re going to be giving out to the cops – they’ll be handing them out to people in need. They will have bottled water and necessities for people that need things like toothbrushes. We’re going to be doing this in the wintertime as well, and at that time we’ll be providing hats and gloves and scarves and socks for people that need those as well.”
To learn more about Jacksonville history, locations, and events, go to jacksonvilleil.org. To hear more from Brittany Henry and Gwenn Eyer of the Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, go to the news tab at WLDS.com and click on What’s On Your Mind.