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Springfield Looking to Become Tourist Hot Spot

The head of Illinois Tourism said Springfield ranks in the top five tourist destinations in the state. (WICS)

The annual conference on Illinois travel and tourism kicked off Sunday in Springfield.

Hundreds of professionals from around the state met to discuss how Illinois can be more of a tourist destination.

The head of Illinois Tourism said Springfield ranks in the top five tourist destinations in the state.

Newschannel 20 got a preview of the plan to attract more people to Springfield.

"It's not a spot for young people to come,” said Brandt. Cory Jobe is working to change that perception.

The former Springfield Alderman is now Director of Illinois Tourism.

He said his office will showcase a new commercial featuring the capital city.

“You can step back in time and visit the National Park Site and visit his (Lincoln’s) home, obviously the Presidential Library Museum is important and the Capitol,” said Jobe.

The commercial will air in 14 markets across the country.

“So, we encourage Chicago and northern Illinois residents to come down state to Springfield or to even go further downstate like the Shawnee National Forest, where there is a great wine country and outdoor recreation. "

“People that are very much into history, all the presidencies make this place iconic and is a center piece,” said Chris Foy from Springfield.

Brandt said she was also disappointed to find a number of places downtown were closed.

“A lot more restaurants need to be open on Sunday. We've gone to three now, so getting kind of hungry and everywhere you go is close on a Sunday,” said Brandt.

Jobe said more tourists will help the economy in central Illinois, and he's hoping this new campaign will accomplish that.

“That one of kind unique experience a visitor can have and encourage them to take an extra day in Springfield,” said Jobe.

Jobe's office is also showcasing a new program to focus on entrepreneurs in Springfield.

It's a way to showcase businesses that are iconic to the area.

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