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Monday, Sep. 22, 2014

Hitting the road to lure tourists

Sunday, May 18, 2003

As the Sikeston and Miner Convention and Visitor Bureau's director, I have really been on the go this spring!

On March 19, a volunteer and I attended the Cincinnati Group Leaders of America show. Here we spoke with around 175 tour group leaders.

Then we traveled to Indianapolis, where we met with at least 100 more.

At both of these shows, we explained that those heading to Branson with their bus groups could eliminate the St. Louis city traffic by coming down I-57 to Sikeston and Miner, overnight here, then take scenic highway 60 on west into Branson. With these two cities being a good day's travel away, the buses would arrive with plenty of time for dinner, check into one of our several hotels and next morning they would have plenty of time to check out some of the unique things we have to do and see around our area.

After leaving Indianapolis, we traveled to St. Charles and visited with yet another 240 leaders. There we invited groups to our area to just get out of the city for a couple of days and enjoy a golf outing, a visit to the winery, or a rodeo getaway. We also informed these leaders of our newest VF addition to factory outlet shopping and our neighbor's Dogwood-Azalea Festival. Just a quiet weekend away from the city sounded pretty good to a lot of them. Each week the office of the Convention and Visitors Bureau receives hundreds of requests for information packets. Most of them come in label form from the ads we place in magazines like AAA, Bus Tour Group Leaders, The Missouri Vacation Planner and several others. So the short week we were back in the office was quite busy responding to requests. The CVB has bulk mailed over one thousand packets during the last two months.

On April 1, I was back on the road, traveling this time to Chicago to the Affordable Meetings show. Here, I met with over 900 meeting planners. These planners congregated at the Navy Pier to look for ideas on places where they could send their companies to conduct meetings. So many of these meeting planners are also group leaders of banks, schools, etc., and are interested in outings for those groups, too. We again invited them to Sikeston and Miner.

The following week we attended the Missouri Meetings and Events Expo 2003 at the St. Louis Convention Center. This Expo was another opportunity for the cities of Sikeston and Miner to advertise the hotel meeting rooms we have available and also the Ray Clinton Community services building. On April 16, we attended the Savor the Flavor festival in Jefferson City. The Good Humor Breyers Ice Cream plant generously donated over 500 assorted ice creams to the CVB to give to our representatives, senators and others, who attended the show. The treats were a real treat, everyone agreed.

Most of the traveling for the CVB has been completed for this year. Now we are busy focusing on doing follow-ups to the leaders we met at the shows and responding to their requests for specialized itineraries. With all the efforts we have put forth to reach these Group Leaders, we sure hope it will open their eyes to all we have to offer here in Sikeston and Miner.