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Garden of the Gods - Southern Illinois

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Dec 2, 2022

Tourism Leaders Convene in Chicago for the 2022 Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism

Conference to feature notable tourism thought leaders, Dec. 5-7

CHICAGO - The Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism, the state’s premiere educational and networking conference for tourism industry professionals, will take place Dec. 5-7 at Chicago’s iconic travel destination, Navy Pier, in the Aon Grand Ballroom. The annual conference brings hundreds of Illinois industry leaders, travel experts and visionaries together to explore the latest industry trends and insights that contribute to Illinois tourism, one of the leading economic drivers in the state.

“The tourism industry is a significant economic driver in Illinois with 97 million visitors from around globe spending $32 billion in communities across our great state in 2021,” said Sylvia I. Garcia, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). “We look forward to welcoming tourism leaders from across the state and the country to this year’s conference as we promote Illinois as a top domestic and international destination for business and leisure travel.”

The annual State of the State Tourism Address will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 7 in the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. The address will celebrate and reflect on Illinois’ successful tourism marketing and advertising efforts, including experiential activations, partnerships and the state’s award-winning tourism campaign, “The Middle of Everything” — all significant contributors to Illinois’ ongoing tourism recovery in 2022.

Conference speaker highlights include:

The Future of Tourism - Chris Thompson, President and CEO, Brand USA

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 9 a.m.

Chris Thompson, President and CEO of Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the U.S., will provide an insightful look at what is currently happening across national and international travel and what the future holds for the industry.

The Workforce of Tomorrow - Eric Termuende, life-long entrepreneur and best-selling author

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 10 a.m.

The pandemic shutdown changed the way we work and continues to make filling jobs a struggle. In this lively presentation, Eric Termuende shows how to turn the ‘Great Resignation’ into the ‘Great Reconfiguration’ by seizing the opportunity to establish a one-of-a-kind culture that attracts and retains top talent.

Why Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is Important - Tyronne Stoudemire, SVP of Global DE&I for Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 3 p.m.

Advancing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion globally requires a commitment to create an open and welcoming environment where people can bring their whole selves to work each day. In this timely keynote, Tyronne Stoudemire, SVP of Global Diversity Equity & Inclusion for Hyatt Hotels Corporation, explains how this mindset can power your ability to outperform the competition.

The Next Generation of Global Travelers - Shaina Zafar,  Gen Z’er and Chief Marketing Officer, JUV Consulting

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 9 a.m.

Gen Z is on the move. According to a recent survey, 77 percent of Gen Z’ers are planning or thinking about splurging on a huge getaway trip in 2023.  Shaina Zafar provides an insider look at members of Gen Z, their lifestyles, travel goals and what makes them tick. 

State of the State Tourism Address

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 11:30 a.m.

Sylvia I. Garcia, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), will reflect on the tourism industry’s biggest accomplishments and economic impact as well as highlight the state's ongoing tourism recovery. 

Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards

Monday Dec. 5, 7p.m. - Aon Grand Ballroom

The Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards dinner will honor and celebrate the most innovative tourism marketing initiatives throughout the state in nine categories, ranging from best public relations campaign and social media marketing to best event or festival, with one exceptional entry receiving best of show.

For a complete conference schedule and full list of speakers at the 2022 Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism, visit

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