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Committee backs funding for tourism group

The Economic Development Committee Wednesday recommended that Evanston aldermen approve a three percent increase in annual funding for the Chicago North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Economic Development Committee Wednesday recommended that Evanston aldermen approve a three percent increase in annual funding for the Chicago North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Several hotel and restaurant owners and other local merchants spoke in favor of the CNSCVB’s request for a total of $65,563.

The visitors bureau’s executive director, Gina Speckman, said the bureau gets roughly half of its $941,000 budget from the state hotel tax, but that to receive that money it needs to get matching funds from local communities.

Glenview, Northbrook, Skokie and Wilmette also contribute to the bureau.

The bureau produces a print visitor guide and other brochures and promotional materials, operates a website, distributes e-mail newsletters to meeting planners and tour operators and provides leads to local businesses from inquiries it receives.

Speckman says inquiries to the bureau led to nearly $400,000 in additional bookings for Evanston hotels in the nine months ending in March.

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