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Berggren: Drive economic development through tourism

Published: Saturday, March 22, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

Our new name, Visit McHenry County, has been well received.

Most recently, our organization had the fortunate opportunity to present our new strategic priorities to the members of the McHenry County Council of Governments.  We were excited to share the economic impact of tourism as well as who we are, what we do and why our municipalities and our county should invest in tourism through Visit McHenry County.  

At the conclusion of our recent strategic planning and destination analysis by Zeitgeist Consulting, Bill Geist, had this to say about McHenry County, “Its dual persona as suburban and rural offers a rich diversity of experience that few destinations can offer consumers.” He went on to say, “that diversity of experience may just be the ticket to become one of the more interesting getaway destinations in the Midwest.”

Moving forward, we will focus on three strategic priorities. First, visitor attraction, the continued marketing of our destination to attract the day, overnight and business traveler as well as motorcoach groups and sporting events. Second, to be the “go-to” organization for all things related to the local visitor economy. We are the centralized information source and authority on all there is to see and do when exploring McHenry County. Municipalities and businesses are encouraged to call on us as their strategic advisor to bring the visitor perspective to the table during the planning phase of new projects. Finally, we will focus on business expansion through multilevel marketing, revenue generation and education to all of our local businesses and municipalities. 

Visit McHenry County drives economic development through tourism which enhances the quality of life by providing jobs and attractions for our residents to enjoy. The increase in tax revenue that tourism generates allows for enhancements of services provided to our residents by the municipalities they call home. We thank our municipal investors, McHenry County, the city of McHenry, the city of Woodstock, the city of Crystal Lake, the village of Richmond, the village of Lakewood and the village of Lake in the Hills.

Our goal is to have all McHenry County municipalities involved in generating economic development through tourism by supporting Visit McHenry County. We will be reaching out to set up meetings to discuss tourism and how it impacts each city and village in McHenry County.  We will be rolling out our private partnership opportunities in April for private business interested in supporting tourism in McHenry County, please stay tuned for that program or give us a call at 815-893-6280 to learn more. 

• • •

Advertising sales for the fourth annual issue of the McHenry County Visitors Guide are underway.  Thank you to all the local businesses and communities that already have committed to supporting our guide this year.  

The 46-page magazine-style guide will be available in May. About 40,000 copies of the guide are distributed each year and advertising rates start as low as $300.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be a leader in the regional tourism marketing efforts.  

• Jaki Berggren is executive director of Visit McHenry County. Reach her at 815-893-6280. Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/visitmchenrycounty and Twitter www.twitter.com/Mchenry_County. 

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