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A Publication of WTVP

By now, most people know the importance of sports marketing, group tourism sales, and convention business to the Peoria area.

The tourism industry not only continues to make us the unique tourism destination we are today, but it also fosters that forever popular phrase, "Will it play in Peoria?"

Simply put, the Peoria area continues today to be Illinois’ Center for exceptional artistic variety. Liberace, Elton John, Cats, Phantom, the Bolshoi Ballet—and soon to be added to the list—Perlman and Watts. And that’s just visiting performers.

What about Rodin, King Tut, Tiffany, Whistler—which all played at Lakeview Museum?

And don’t forget about our local artistic endeavors, which are thriving with such diverse offerings as the works of Preston Jackson and the Contemporary Art Center, the new Foster Arts Center housing the Peoria Art Guild and the Peoria Symphony, worldwide premieres at EastLight Theatre, and many more venues too numerous to list.

All anyone has to do to get the latest on the arts scene is pick up an issue of Arts Alive—and they’ll know right off—the arts are thriving in the Peoria area.

So what does this mean to our local tourism industry? Cultural and historic tourism is one of the most popular sectors of the travel industry today.

The Travel Industry Association of America reports that more than 53 million adults visited a museum or historic site in the past year, and more than 33 million attended a cultural event such as theater, arts or music festival.

Typically these travelers spend more, stay in hotels more often, visit more destinations, and are twice as likely to travel for entertainment purposes.

The Illinois Arts Alliance Federation recently commissioned a study of the effects of the arts industry throughout Illinois. In total, the Federation’s study shows the not-for-profit arts industry is estimated to support approximately $880 million in economic activity annually—with spending from out-of-state individuals attending arts institutions and events contributing $181 million yearly.

Suffice it to say, arts- and culturally-oriented visitors are a great fit for this destination, where the arts and artists have always played a valued role.

Not only does this facet of the tourism industry tie in with our existing arts scene, it also makes the logical transition a good reason for supporting a regional museum. Draw these visitors in for one venue or event, and they’ll be sure to quickly explore all we have to offer.

It’s a fact—the arts have always played well in Peoria. We just need to keep reminding and inviting the rest of the state, country and globe to experience our wealth of artistic and cultural opportunities. IBI

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