MT. VERNON — The city’s state tourism marketing grant receipts are up by 6 percent.
“Last year we received $89,798 for our marketing grant,” said Tourism Director Bonnie Jerdon. “This year, we get $105,245.”
The grant, which is provided annually by the Illinois Department of Tourism, is provided to tourism departments throughout the state based on a formula which includes the number of hotel rooms and the amount of revenue collected for each calendar year, Jerdon explained.
“This grant award is based on the 2012 receipts,” Jerdon said. “In Jefferson County, in 2012, expenditures by visitors was $97.59 million, which was up 6.5 percent from the previous year, so our grant reflects that amount of increase.”
Jerdon said the 2013 numbers aren’t as high as the previous year, due to Interstate construction at the Mt. Vernon exits.
“In 2013, we’ve seen some decreases in revenues and room nights that we attribute to the construction on Interstate 57, and the loss of the Drury and Thrift properties for this year,” Jerdon said. “It could potentially affect the grant next year; but we’re hoping with the increase in marketing spending that once the highway is opened back up, the numbers will go back to the upward trend we’ve been on for the last several years.”
The Interstate construction is slated to be completed in December this year; the new Drury Inn construction project is slated for completion in the summer of 2014.