CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY RECOGNIZED AS THE CORPORATE FRIEND OF TOURISM

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Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois was recognized as the Corporate Friend of Tourism at this year?s annual Illinois Governor?s Conference on Tourism, held at the Chicago Hilton and Towers March 6-8. Accepting the award was Chicagoland Speedway?s Vice President and General Manager Joie Chitwood. ?We are honored to receive this award. We look forward to continue working with the Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with the state of Illinois, to promote tourism in this area through our race weekends,? said Chitwood. The Governor's Awards program for Tourism in Illinois was established in 1986 as a way to recognize excellence in marketing local destinations. Presented annually at the Illinois Governor's Conference on Tourism, the awards have become a prime focus of the conference. With more than 100 entrants vying for the awards, a panel of marketing professionals judge based on clarity of message, creativity, originality and the project's overall success. The Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitor?s Bureau (CVB) nominated Chicagoland Speedway for the award because of its impact it had on the city of Joliet, as well as the Chicago Metropolitan area and the state of Illinois. ?The Speedway?s dedication to the visitor has made the entire state of Illinois a place people remember for its friendliness and quality service. This will ultimately lead to an increase of repeat visitors in this area, thus benefiting the Chicago Metropolitan area,? said Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau President/CEO Ross Ament. Long before the inaugural season took place, Speedway officials began working with the Heritage Corridor CVB to coordinate meetings with all area CVB?s and lodging associations to ensure visitors would have a pleasant experience. Chicagoland Speedway and the Heritage Corridor CVB worked with the community to develop a special ?Places to Stay for the Races? reservation system that ensures race fans fair lodging prices during race time. Race fans can access the reservation system by calling 1-800-746-0531 or logging onto www.chicagolandspeedway.com. The first ?Places to Stay for the Races? brochure listed over 100 hotels from the Chicagoland Area and directed visitors to the Heritage Corridor CVB?s lodging specialist and to the on-line hotel reservation system. In 2002, the list of participating hotels has increased to over 150. The Speedway also offered easy access to the track by funding a shuttle service operating from Joliet?s downtown Metra station and surrounding parking decks. This allowed the restaurants and Harrah?s Casino in downtown Joliet to benefit from additional traffic to the area. During race weekend, hotel occupancy was 100 percent while hotels from Rockford to the Quad Cities were also filled. Fans came from seventeen states, as well as Canada, and staying an average of two days. Thirty percent of the fans were from outside the state of Illinois. Chicagoland Speedway brought in over 200,000 visitors to Joliet and its surrounding areas during each of the two race weekends during its inaugural season in 2001 making it the largest sporting event to take place in Illinois. The national exposure showcased the Joliet Area and the entire state of Illinois as an entertainment and tourist destination to an entirely new market. For example, an estimated 21 million viewers saw the television coverage of the inaugural NASCAR Winston Cup Tropicana 400 on NBC, which is the best NASCAR Winston Cup afternoon delivery for races from May through November since the inaugural running of the Brickyard 400 from the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, August 6, 1994 on ABC. This is the second award given to Chicagoland Speedway in recognition of its impact on tourism in the Chicago Metropolitan area. In September, Chicagoland Speedway was named member of the year for the Chicago Southland Convention and Visitor?s Bureau.
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