Travel & Tourism
Governor Quinn Announces Record-Breaking Visitors to Illinois in 2013 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Dave Blanchette   
Friday, 11 July 2014 13:01

Visits Chloe Stirling at Culinary Camp to Highlight Illinois’ Status as a Premiere Food Destination

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Illinois had its third consecutive record-breaking year for tourism by welcoming nearly 105.7 million visitors in 2013. The Governor made the announcement during a visit with Chloe Stirling at the Kendall College Culinary Camp in Chicago where the 12-year-old entrepreneur is perfecting her baking skills along with other young culinary students. Today’s event is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to increase tourism, create jobs and drive economic development throughout Illinois.

“It is inspiring to see so many culinary students like Chloe sharpening their talents in the kitchen," Governor Quinn said. "Many of our state's young students are taking their energy and creativity to grow vibrant culinary businesses, which has helped established Illinois as a food destination. We continue to see record numbers of visitors in the state thanks in large part to our excellent restaurant industry. From our state's natural treasures to our museums and one-of-a-kind dining experiences, tourism is thriving in the Land of Lincoln."

In addition to the record setting number of U.S. visitors to Illinois, the state welcomed nearly 2.2 million international visitors in 2013, up 3 percent from the previous year. One of the strongest growth sectors in 2013 was leisure travel, up 5.7 percent from 2012. Visitors spent $34.5 billion in Illinois in 2013, generating nearly $2.6 billion in state and local tax revenues.

In addition, the Illinois tourism industry workforce also grew to 301,100 in 2013, adding 2,400 new jobs to the state. These impressive numbers, provided by D.K. Shifflet & Associates Ltd., highlight the tourism industry’s vital contributions to Illinois’ economic growth, job creation and tax revenue.

“The positive growth numbers showcase the key role the tourism industry plays in Illinois’ economy,” Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Adam Pollet said. “Attracting more visitors to Illinois has resulted in an increase in tax revenue coming into the state and added new high-quality jobs for Illinoisans.”

The Governor today also announced that Kendall College will, for the first time ever, partner with the Illinois Office of Tourism, a division of DCEO, to help plan the Governor's Conference on Travel and Tourism. Planning and promotion for the conference, which will run from Feb. 2-4, 2015, will be built into the curriculum for Kendall hospitality management students who will work alongside state tourism industry leaders to gain hands-on experience.

“The continued increase in U.S. and international visitors to Illinois year-over-year proves that both leisure and business travelers are increasingly considering Illinois as a premier travel destination,” Illinois Office of Tourism Deputy Director Jen Hoelzle said. “Our strong international marketing partnership with Brand USA and new initiatives to reach domestic travelers, like the MiniAbe campaign, are inspiring travelers from around the world to discover all that Illinois has to offer.”

Many travelers come to Illinois or extend their stays because of the state’s thriving restaurant and culinary scene. The Chicago area, for example, hosts 25 Michelin-starred restaurants and 10 that have won a James Beard Award, the industry’s highest accolade.

Overall, restaurants account for 515,600 jobs in Illinois, about 9 percent of the state’s employment.

The Governor visited Chloe and her parents at their Troy home last month to sign legislation, known as the "Cupcake Bill," to support home kitchen businesses in Illinois. The new law will help young entrepreneurs looking to get into the culinary field by making business opportunities more available and help drive the state’s economy forward. Chloe, her mother, Heather, her sister, Sophie and her grandparents all visited the Kendall College camp today.

Kendall College in Chicago hosts a series of hands-on summer culinary camps designed for young students and taught by qualified Kendall instructors at the school's state-of-the-art campus. For more information, visit:


House Members Should Insist on Proper Deliberation of This Highly Controversial H.R. 4156 Legislation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Kevin Mitchell   
Friday, 11 July 2014 10:15

Airlines Triple Down on H.R. 4156

A House of Cards Premised on A Big Lie

July 10, 2014, Washington, DC – Business Travel Coalition (BTC) today has learned that H.R. 4156, the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014, is on the short list in the U.S. House of Representatives for a Suspension Calendar vote prior to the August recess. Suspension of the rules is a procedure used to quickly pass non-controversial bills in the House. H.R. 4156 arguably represents one of the most controversial aviation bills in a generation. (See

The bill was passed out of Committee on April 9, 2014 without any hearings, debate or opportunity for consumer or travel industry stakeholders (other than airlines) to inform Congress of their views and the flaws in this bill. This is not the harmonious naming of a Post Office - the type of bill the Suspension Calendar is used for - but rather, contentious legislation that would harm consumers by reversing a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) rule implemented in 2012 as a cure to misleading airline advertising. House Members should reject this Suspension Calendar scheme and insist on proper deliberation of this highly controversial legislation.

This week, in a scene right out of NetFlix’s House of Cards, airlines tripled down on their Big Lie and the manipulation of Congress that H.R. 4156 is premised upon. From the trade group Airlines For America, “...consumers deserve to clearly know just how much they are paying in federally imposed taxes and fees every time they purchase a ticket.” (See

Likewise, from American Airlines’ in-flight magazine, American Way, the carrier’s CEO asserts, “I can assure you that at American Airlines, you will never be asked to finalize a purchase without knowing the full price of the ticket, including all federal taxes and fees. But with this legislation, you will be better informed to know exactly what you are paying for in advance...” (See


“Airlines falsely claimed to Congress, and continue to double and triple down in the press, that the DOT advertising rule forces them to hide government taxes and fees. The opposite is true. Airlines are free to list these amounts in an advertisement or solicitation so long as they are less prominently displayed than the total airfare, stated BTC founder Kevin Mitchell. “Moreover, airlines can list all taxes and fees on ticket itineraries and further remind passengers of these costs when printing out boarding passes. They simply choose not to,” added Mitchell.

Some find Frank Underwood’s lies and manipulation in House of Cards highly entertaining. But when it comes to reality in Congress and consumer protections, at least one Member of Congress finds airlines’ duplicity deeply disturbing and has the courage to stand up to them. U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), a House Transportation Committee member who voted (perhaps alone) against H.R. 4156 succinctly told The Associated Press in a May 8 article: “The bill is ‘a gift to the airlines...’ ‘What you're going to see is $200 for the airfare, and then you're going to be shocked when it turns out to really be $250,’ he said. ‘It's misleading to the consumer. It's just dishonest.’”

At find relevant foundational documents, analyses and industry statements representing all views on H.R. 4156 as well as press editorials and stories.


About BTC
Founded in 1994, the mission of Business Travel Coalition is to interpret industry and government policies and practices and provide a platform to enable the managed travel community to influence issues of strategic importance to their organizations.

I-74 Lane Closures PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by QCCVB   
Monday, 07 July 2014 08:50

Weather permitting, there will be intermittent lane closures in both directions on the Interstate 74 bridge from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Tuesday, July 8.

The rain date for this work will b Wednesday, July 9.

Branstad, Reynolds launch “Zero Fatalities” traffic safety initiative PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Andrea Henry   
Monday, 30 June 2014 15:38

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced the launch of “Zero Fatalities,” Iowa’s plan to keep every man, woman, and child safe on Iowa’s roadways.

Iowa’s Zero Fatalities program is a multiagency effort currently supported by the Iowa departments of Transportation, Health, and Public Safety through the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau. The leaders of each agency were on hand today to help kick off the program.

“Last year 317 men, women, and children died on Iowa’s highways. While that is a decrease from years past, we know with simple improvements, we can do much better and prevent traffic deaths,” said Branstad. “If each of us adopts a zero fatalities goal for our families, we can make zero a reality statewide. To achieve this, we all must give full attention to the task of driving when we are behind the wheel.”

The program highlights five dangerous driving behaviors and encourages Iowans to:

1.       Slow down.

2.       Drive sober.

3.       Focus on the road.

4.       Stay alert.

5.       Buckle up. Every seat, every time.

“With the Fourth of July holiday right around the corner and summer travel increasing, I join Governor Branstad in fully endorsing this multiagency effort to increase safety on Iowa’s roadways,” said Reynolds. “With just a few proactive adjustments to traveling, we can significantly reduce traffic deaths and obtain our goal of zero fatalities.”

The program includes initiatives from each of the partner agencies working to encourage safe driving behaviors; television, radio, and online spots; and a presence on social media. To find out more about the program, go to and click on “Iowa” in the drop-down box. You can also follow the effort on Twitter (@zeroiowa) and Facebook

Iowa’s Zero Fatalities program is part of a larger campaign that includes three other states, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. The Zero Fatalities program supports Iowa Strategic Highway Safety Plan that includes efforts in engineering, law enforcement, education, emergency medical services, and driver attitudes and behaviors to improve the overall safety of Iowa’s roadways.


Governor Quinn Signs Legislation That Will Allow Quad Cities – Washington DC Air Service Take Flight PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Dave Blanchette   
Monday, 30 June 2014 13:53

Legislation Will Clear Way for Direct Flights to Nation’s Capital

MOLINE – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation that clears the way for daily flights from the Quad Cities to Washington, DC. Today's action will enhance transportation and economic development opportunities in the Quad Cities area and is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to drive Illinois’ economy forward.

“Getting a daily flight from the Quad Cities to Washington, DC has been a priority I have shared with area leaders for several years,” Governor Quinn said. “These flights will help established businesses in the region as well as those who are considering a move to the Quad Cities. This new law serves as a jobs-producing investment in the northwestern Illinois economy.”

Senate Bill 220, also known as the Budget Implementation Act, expands air carrier recruitment grants to provide the seed money that will make the flights possible. The legislation increases from two to three years the Illinois Department of Transportation’s I-FLY air carrier recruitment and retention grants and increases the yearly grant amount from $1 million to $1.5 million. These increased subsidies were necessary to attract air carriers to airports like Quad City International and commit to providing daily passenger service, in this case to Washington, DC. The legislation is effective immediately.

House Bill 6097, one of the additional budget bills awaiting Governor Quinn’s signature, includes an appropriation of $1.5 million for a grant to the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Rock Island County for the first year of the three-year grant program. The Governor will take action on this bill before July 1.

“It’s a great day when we can all work together to ensure that Illinois jobs remain open and available,” State Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline) said. “Under the new law, residents in my district no longer have to worry that the Arsenal might be shut down and how they may put the next meal on the table.”

"When I heard that the Rock Island Arsenal needed a direct flight to DC, I knew we had to act,” State Representative Mike Smiddy (D-Hillsdale) said. “We were able to put aside party and regional differences and create a bipartisan solution. I'm proud to say that this legislation will help us keep the thousands of families that rely on the Rock island Arsenal employed.”

“I thank Governor Quinn for signing this legislation that provides the Quad Cities area with a great tool to help retain one of our largest employers,” State Representative Patrick Verschoore (D-Milan) said. “Having a daily flight between the Quad Cities and Washington, DC ensures future support for the Rock Island Arsenal the next time federal BRAC realignment decisions are made.”

Senate Bill 220 also makes the necessary changes to numerous state programs to implement the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget. Among other things, it increases the personal care allowance for people at long-term care facilities and in Community Integrated Living Arrangements.


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