Press Room

National Travel & Tourism Week Celebrating Positive Change for Community

Champaign, Illinois— Annually, the U.S. Travel Association celebrates the impact of travel and tourism during National Travel & Tourism Week, May 5–11, 2019. Locally, the Visit Champaign County Foundation will celebrate local people, events, businesses, stakeholders, and partners that help provide opportunity and support workers in travel & tourism to the greater Champaign County area at the 7th Annual Toast to Tourism, May 15 from 4:00–6:00 p.m. at the I Hotel & Conference Center.

“In the greater Champaign County area, we as residents have the privilege to experience vibrant arts and culture, incredible local cuisine, high-energy sports, an impressive transportation infrastructure, and strong work force,” states Jayne DeLuce, President & CEO of Visit Champaign County. “It’s clear our visitors enjoy these amenities as well, bringing and additional $404.4 million in spending to these great local businesses and attractions, supporting 3,140 workers who contribute to the vitality of our community.”

Our tourism market is strong because of the many individuals, businesses and events that better the quality of life for our residents, drive visitor traffic and offer superior customer service to all. During Toast to Tourism, the Foundation will celebrate those who have made a profound impact with the Tourism Impact Awards.

The 2019 Tourism Impact award winners include: Champaign County History Museum; Sam Issa, Sam’s Café; Cindy Reynolds, William M. Staerkel Planetarium & Parkland Theatre; Mike Ross, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts; and Paty Stipes, American Airlines.

The theme of this year’s U.S. Travel Association National Travel and Tourism Week, “Travel Matters,” highlights the innumerable ways in which travel makes up the fabric of the greater Champaign County area’s culture and economy. Each day of NTTW will celebrate a different facet of travel: the economy, new experiences, jobs, infrastructure, health benefits, hometown pride and how travel strengthens families.

“In every pocket of America—from the largest cities to the smallest towns—travel matters,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “I, like so many others, got my start in the travel industry, and it shaped my life in ways I could have never imagined. This National Travel and Tourism Week, we’re celebrating how travel powers our economies, strengthens our communities, and changes our lives.”

While the benefits to the local economy can not be understated, it is the intangible benefits that help our community grow and our residents and visitors thrive. Whether it’s improving our mental and physical health by taking time off to enjoy the local amenities, enjoying a new experience inspired by the Living Outside of Ordinary campaign, attracting development to enhance our community, or simply providing a sense of pride when our businesses and workers are recognized for the offerings and hospitality, travel matters to the greater Champaign County area.    

According to the U.S. Travel Association, travel and tourism is a $2.5 trillion industry in the U.S. These visitors support 15.7 million American jobs—roughly 8.9 million direct travel jobs, and 6.8 million indirect jobs, and travel-related spending generated $171 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue in 2018.

Locally, travel and tourism saves the average Illinois family $1,300 in taxes annually.

For more information on Toast to Tourism, go to or contact Terri Reifsteck at Visit Champaign County. To learn more about the national efforts supporting travel and tourism, visit

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