To the Editor:
In response to the Dec. 1 editorial entitled “Is participation in the AACVB worth the cost?” I offer my view on the subject. I worked for the CVB. As a long-time Yorkville resident, I promoted Yorkville to the traveling public every day. Is this the whole story? No, just 400 words.
The article states that Yorkville pays a “$70,000 bureau membership fee” annually. This is not true. There is no “membership fee”. Not one penny comes out of the pockets of Yorkville residents or the city budget. The article states, by law, the hotel tax collected by the city has to be spent on tourism. It is sent to the CVB to help fund their marketing efforts on behalf of Yorkville and other communities. This tax is paid by out of town visitors that stay in our hotels.
Yorkville is better off because of the other surrounding communities. Visitors from 70 countries tour the Farnsworth House in Plano. Buses would stop at Cobblestone afterwards for lunch. When there’s a tournament at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, our hotels are full. Large tournaments come to the 377 acre Sports Complex in Montgomery. Yorkville hotels were often filled with out of state teams. Many would visit Raging Waves Waterpark, eat in our restaurants, shop, and fill their gas tanks.
Tax revenue from tourism in Illinois is enough to pay over 30,000 teachers’ salaries. Tourism is also one of the largest job creators. When it comes to tax revenue generated, growth and number of jobs, we are holding our own in Kendall County.
Let’s take an honest look at Yorkville. St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, and Naperville have turned their downtown and riverwalks into revenue generating machines. Our downtown has empty restaurants, theater, bank, newspaper building, cabinet store and tile store. The river front has rusting scrap metal in front of the Yorkville sign and abandoned buildings. Not exactly the well-oiled revenue generating machine, huh?
Yet, the solution could be right under our nose! You’ve heard of Hershey chocolate tours, Milwaukee brewery tours and LEGOLAND that attract millions of visitors every year.
If Yorkville would like to work with the AACVB to bring visitors here, let’s work with Wrigley to create SKITTLELAND. What kid wouldn’t want to see where Skittles come from and how they are made? We would have to build more hotels.
I no longer work for the AACVB, so this is not the view of the current CVB staff. Is participation in the AACVB worth the cost? In “my view”, absolutely!
Michael J. Pfeiffer