Pritzker urges Illinoisans to visit … Illinois! Tourism campaign targets locals, residents of nearby states to get behind the wheelon May 12, 2021 at 9:32 pm

Days before Illinois enters the “bridge” phase of his reopening plan, Gov. J.B. Pritzker encouraged the state’s residents and tourists to get out and drive this summer with the Wednesday launch of a tourism campaign focused on seeing “all of Illinois.”

“After an incredibly difficult year in which the pandemic kept us all close to home and staying apart, life-saving vaccines are bringing us back to life and heading toward a summer of fun and venturing out,” Pritzker said at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.

“I’m proud to launch the ‘Time for Me to Drive Campaign,’ inviting people to see all of Illinois, showing off adventures of all kinds — historic sites and winery tours, state parks and rock climbing, hiking and zip lining, hundreds of craft breweries and thousands of excellent restaurants across the entire state,” Pritzker said.

The campaign highlights the “fun and beauty” of the state’s diverse communities, as well as its natural assets and man-made ones, through a $6 million media campaign sound tracked by a play on Downstate Champaign band REO Speedwagon’s “Time for Me to Fly.”

“If you want to see the sights, if you want to change your scenery, if you want to travel safely, come to Illinois,” Pritzker said.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker kicks off a campaign promoting Illinois tourism at a news conference Wednesday.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker kicks off a campaign promoting Illinois tourism at a news conference Wednesday.
Blue Room Stream

Those interested in seeing what the state has to offer can go to for trip ideas and proposed itineraries for visits that range from romantic getaways to Galena in northwestern Illinois to a dose of nature in DuPage County.

The ad campaign is marketed toward state residents and those in border states. The ad will appear in seven states and 18 markets, Sylvia Garcia, the acting director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, said, adding that the campaign is part of the state’s “ongoing work toward a strong recovery for the tourism industry over the long term.”

The push to see Illinois’ sites comes as recent surveys show about half of Americans plan to travel this summer — half of that number plan to do so via car, the governor said.

Pointing to coronavirus case numbers trending in a more positive direction, Pritzker said nearly a week ago that he’d ease more COVID-19 business restrictions across the state starting this Friday. Barring another surge of infections, or a downturn in other reopening metrics, he’ll let the state fully reopen June 11.

Entering the “bridge” stage, which is a 28-day period between Phases 4 and 5 of his original reopening plan, means museums, amusement parks and zoos will be able to increase capacity from 25% to 60%, while festivals and other general admission outdoor events will be able to seat 30 people per 1,000 square feet.

Meetings, conferences and conventions will also see their capacity limit increase to either 1,000 people or 60% — whichever is less — with the same applying to theaters and performing arts venues.

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