Champaign County tourism on the rise despite decreases in funding from the state

CHAMPAIGN--Champaign County has some big tourist attractions in the works, but budget cuts at the state level could impact how soon they are up and running.  

An African American history walking tour is one of several tourist attractions Visit Champaign County is currently developing. However, with the Illinois Office of Tourism facing a $20 million budget cut for the next fiscal year, some projects--like the historical walk--may come quicker than others.

"Smaller projects we're able to do with the lower economic cost to those," said Jayne DeLuce, president and CEO of Visit Champaign County. "Some of the larger projects may be in the planning stages, but based on getting through and seeing how this new budget is going to look, might take a little bit longer for that."

One of those larger projects is a proposed innovation museum to highlight the inventions that were created in the area. But the anticipated losses in money from the state will make grassroots fundraising necessary to turn this idea into reality.

"We have to get our private support behind that," said DeLuce. "We've already  done a lot in that area. But we will continue to increase our efforts in that area."

To continue increasing Champaign County's tourism industry, which grew 2.7 percent last year and brought in more than $300 million in visitor spending.

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