Earlier in the year, President and CEO of the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (RACVB), John Groh, said he expected it would take until probably 2024 for Rockford tourism numbers to get back to where they were before the pandemic.

Well, maybe the announcement last night at Rockford City Council that council members approved $300K in supplemental funding for the RACVB will help speed up that timetable.

Plus, when you consider that the RACVB is going to reach out for another $300K in private donations to match the city's supplemental funding, we've got the makings of a pretty hefty tourism war chest.

For those wondering about where the money is coming from, the Daily Herald reports that the $300,000 is from a left-over cash balance in the city's tourism fund, which is generated from a 5% tax on hotel stays.

Having lived in this area my entire life, I've noticed over the years that the people who are hardest on Rockford are the people who live here, and not the folks from all over the Midwest and beyond that plan to come and visit us. Those who have a hard time saying nice things about the Forest City should take a look at just a few of the things that people jump in their vehicles to come and see:

  • Anderson Japanese Gardens
  • Rockford Art Museum
  • Burpee Museum of Natural History
  • Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens
  • Midway Village Museum
  • Rock Cut State Park
  • Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden
  • The Coronado Performing Arts Center
  • Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens

Rockford's upcoming tourism push comes at the same time that Illinois as a whole is trying to market itself as a road-trip destination in a $6 million dollar campaign called "Time For Me To Drive."

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