December President's Message
December 02, 2016
With a full house in attendance, the DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau at its October 27 Annual Meeting at Glendale Lakes Golf Club in Glendale Heights presented “GPS: A Tourism Roadmap,” its new strategic plan for growing DuPage County’s $2.5 billion tourism business.
Developed in consultation with Nichols Tourism Group, with input from DCVB staff and a Strategic Plan Advisory Board (yours truly included), the plan calls for the following:
- Establish better internal cooperation between all tourist related organizations;
- Create new and better integrated product offerings; and
- Develop stronger outreach to both the business and leisure tourism markets.
An estimated 109.4 million visitors to Illinois pumped more than $36.3 billion in 2014 (2015 figures are pending) for professional meeting organizers, venues, food and beverage, accommodations, transportation, recreation, entertainment, retail, travel services and more, according to the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism.
In 2015, meeting attendees and other visitors—such as vacationers and guests at family and class reunions, weddings, sports tournaments and such—across DuPage contributed a record $2.477 billion to the state’s economy, an increase of 2.0% after posting better-than-trend growth of 4.8% in 2014 and 3.1% in 2013.
For DuPage, visitor spending produced $195 million in 2015 tax receipts (a 4.8% increase over 2014), generating $153 million for the state and $42.1 million for the county. Those dollar totals grew by 4.5% and 5.1%, respectively, from the previous year after increases of 9% and 4.6% in 2014 and 5% and 2.4 % in 2013.
Tourism in Illinois also ranks as one of the state’s largest employers and one of only a few industries with employment growth, with 2015 report figures at some 314,400 jobs (or a 2.7% increase from 2014) directly related to meetings and visitor industry. In DuPage, $600 million in payroll and 22,000 hospitality jobs are attributed to serving our guests, increasing by 2.7% and 3.2%, respectively, over the prior year.
Currently rank No. 2 in Illinois to Cook County in revenue generated from conventions, business meetings and vacation travel, it is critical that DuPage County develop a unified and recognizable image to offset growing competition from Chicago, Rosemont and other tourism destinations.
The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, Elmhurst Art Museum and Elmhurst History Museum are among Elmhurst’s visitors and tourism attractions.
Court Blocks New OT Regulations
On November 22, a federal district court in Texas granted a request from the United States Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business and other concerned parties for a preliminary injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Labor’s December 1 implementation and enforcement of new overtime exemption regulations.
While temporary, the court injunction will give business organizations and employers an opportunity for due process in advocating their case against the DOL’s mandate.
Illinois Business Tax Hike Blocked
During the Illinois General Assembly’s current veto session, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce is opposing House Amendment 1 to House Bill 293, which would impose massive tax increases on Illinois businesses through a series of changes to the Illinois Income Tax Act, sales tax laws, and the estate tax, as follows:
- Increasing the corporate income tax rate to 6%;
- Eliminating the rolling stock exemption from the sales tax for purchases of transportation equipment;
- Elimination of the Manufacturing Machinery Equipment Exemption;
- Changing the way in which the income of multi-state companies is apportioned to Illinois;
- Decoupling from the federal domestic production activities deduction; and
- Imposing higher income tax burdens on the airline industry.
Endorsed by the Illinois Chamber, the Safe Roads Amendment to prevent the State of Illinois from sweeping or diverting motor vehicle fuel taxes and registration fees for non-transportation uses passed by a 4-to-1 margin on the November 8 Presidential Election ballot.
The Illinois Legislature still needs to determine which revenues get "lock boxed" and if the amendment will include Elmhurst and other municipalities with home rule motor fuel sales taxes, vehicle sticker fees and public parking fees.
Five members are celebrating Chamber anniversaries in December, as follows: 20 years—Evenhouse & Co, P.C.; 15 years—Catalano & Associates and Spring Road Business Association; 10 years—Sotos Building; and 5 years—Visiting Angels of Elmhurst.
The Chamber welcomed five new members in November, as follows: Boxless Media, Hollander International Storage and Moving, Inc., InMotion Foot & Ankle Center, SAGE Private Wealth Group and The Gaming Goat - Elmhurst.
No Longer Members
The Chamber said goodbye to the following four members in November: Elmhurst Family Dental, Environmental Consulting Group, Ignite Payments and Pythagoras Children’s Academy.