“Developing and strategically marketing rural tourism has been shown to foster entrepreneurship, job creation, and cultural revival.” (Soulard et. al., 2023)
According to the Illinois Office of Tourism, tourism represents a significant part of the Illinois’ economy. In 2019, Illinois tourism brought in $3.3 billion of state and local tax revenues and generated over 342,000 jobs, and tourist spending totaled $41.7 billion.
Pam Schallhorn, Extension Specialist in Community and Economic Development will be providing information and resources from a recent research project completed by the University of Illinois and Illinois Extension called I-Rural: Reimagining Illinois Rural Tourism Through Community and Extension Collaboration. Resources include an I-Rural Toolkit that communities and organizations can use to better understand and promote local tourism as well as an updated grant resource guide.
In addition, Schallhorn will discuss insights into identifying target markets, the importance of digital marketing and how to create effective tourism marketing campaigns that reach different generations.
There is no charge to attend. Light refreshments will be served.
Pam Schallhorn is an Extension specialist in community and economic development serving forty counties in western and central Illinois. She received a master's degree in Political Studies from University of Illinois Springfield and a bachelor's degree in Finance from Northern Illinois University, Dekalb. From 1986 to 2004, she was a commercial lender and vice president of several midwestern regional banks. Previously she was the Director of the Small Business Development Center in Rockford and founder of New Urban Futures where she consulted on both community and economic development projects. Her teaching and research interests include entrepreneurial development, economic development policy, downtown revitalization, out migration of young adults from rural communities and cultural awareness.
I-Rural: Reimagining Illinois Rural Tourism Through Community and Extension Collaboration: The project’s goal was to develop tools to plan, develop and implement rural tourism projects with evidence-informed processes that support local entrepreneurship, foster collaboration, and develop local workforce opportunities. The project was led by Joelle Soulard, Ph.D., and Sharon Zou, Ph.D., both professors in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois.