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Tourism bureau launches summer campaign promoting Southwestern Illinois

Keeping the doors open for road trips, family vacations, weekend getaways and more is the driving force behind a new ‘Summer Never Closes’ marketing campaign launched by the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau of southwest Illinois.

A 60-second video created by Route 3 Films is the touchstone piece to the new campaign, which is designed to inspire getaways to the six county region that includes the southern leg of Route 66 in Illinois and the Great River Road which hugs the banks of the Mississippi River. The Great Rivers & Routes region includes Madison, Macoupin, Montgomery, Jersey, Greene and Calhoun counties.

“We know people are hungry right now for a place they can go to escape the stress and strain of the COVID-19 crisis,” Brett Stawar, president and CEO of Great Rivers & Routes notes. “And we have the perfect destination for anyone looking for a road trip. With Route 66 and three of the nation’s great rivers coming together in one place, we have history, outdoor adventures, wineries, and family-friendly fun.”

Inspiration is key to bringing visitors back to southwest Illinois and providing a much needed boost to the area economy.  The new summer campaign video is designed to inspire people to hop in their cars and journey to the region, according to Stawar. “We want to inspire our local residents to explore the region and invite their friends and, more importantly, to invite their friends and family to come and stay with us.”

In addition to the regionally-focused video, shorter city specific videos are in the works.

“We are creating videos for Alton, Collinsville, Edwardsville and Grafton that showcase area hiking and biking trails, great locally owned and operated restaurants, local attractions and all the things people can do to escape from their daily lives,” Stawar says.

While the local tourism market was heavily impacted by the health crisis, Stawar notes tourism can help bring jobs and revenues back to local economies.

“Tourism is an economic engine that can drive a return to normal life,” he points out.

The campaign is focused on reaching visitors within a 200-mile radius of the region which is located just outside St. Louis in Illinois.

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