The Galesburg Area Convention and Visitors Bureau took a trip to Springfield to lobby elected representatives on tourism.
The State of Illinois collects a six percent lodging tax which is then allocated – Galesburg is among the beneficiaries.
A local hotel/motel tax is also applied for use by tourism departments. Now, several municipalities are expressing interest in using the funds generated for purposes other than tourism.
Knox County Tourism Director Bill Morris says promoting tourism in Galesburg was a bit of a learning experience. He tells the WGIL Evening News that legislation is currently pending on the matter.
“There’s a bill before the House and the Senate…to take hotel/motel tax, and have 50 percent of it set aside in non-home rule communities for general fund venture that a city might do, other than tourism,” Morris said. “[Tourism groups] were opposing that, because non-home rule communities believe that the hotel/motel tax monies should strictly be used for tourism.”
In 2012, Illinois hosted more than 100-million visitors with $37 billion spent on tourism.
Morris says he was able to network with representatives of other Visitors Bureaus while in the State Capitol.
He says he dropped off information to Galesburg’s elected representatives to help inform them of the situation.