The Decatur Area Convention and Visitors Bureau wants to continue building on success that has been found with events held in the Decatur area. Events are being held throughout the spring and summer that attract visitors to town. Visitors Bureau Executive Director Teri Hammel hopes those who visit enjoy what they find the area has to offer.
Hosting sporting events is one of the areas that is increasing, Hammel said. Softball, tennis, basketball, golf, swimming and soccer are among the sports tournaments on the events schedule. A particular area of focus is utilizing Forsyth Park and generating traffic around the hotels, stores and restaurants in Forsyth. Two men's softball tournaments will be held in late July at Forsyth Park. Millikin University Commencement is among other events generating a high number of overnight stays in the area, Hammel said.
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In addition to events spread throughout the year, this is a Farm Progress Show year. All the hotel rooms in the area sell out during the event, providing the kind of boost to hotel/motel room nights Hammel is always looking for. Demand for the Farm Progress Show is so high the new Residence Inn by Marriott in Forsyth was sold out well before construction was finished, said Logan May, the hotel's director of sales.
Tourism is not to be overlooked in Decatur. While it might not be at the top of the list for vacation destinations, it does have a lot to offer, including a mix of restaurants plus destinations like Scovill Zoo and the Children's Museum of Illinois. Decatur made the list of 25 Delicious Destination restaurants in Illinois with Paco's Sol Bistro. The economic impact of 15,316 reported hotel/motel room nights in 2014 was $3,675,840, according to the DACVB. Tourists expenditures for Macon County was estimated at over $124 million. Hammel said it all shows why work continues to boost the numbers even higher and expand some of the facilities that attract visitors to town or offer places to go while staying here.