The person who will try to turn Illinois’ tourist attractions into “economic development” is Cory Jobe. The Springfield man, who has been deputy chief of staff in the comptroller’s office, is the new appointee to head the Illinois Office of Tourism. Jobe will report to the director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, a position which has not been filled yet in the new administration.
Jobe has been a longtime associate of the late Judy Baar Topinka and says he became interested in the tourism business while working in the treasurer’s office on a program called “Experience Illinois.”
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“Tourism is economic development, I’ve always said that,” says Jobe. “I’ve always said historic preservation is economic development. We’ve got to be thinking in those terms. This is a big business in the state of Illinois. The return on investment is huge.”
In addition to Chicago and the state parks, Jobe cited the Abraham Lincoln attractions, Route 66, the Galena area, and the sports facilities of Rockford and the Metro East as important assets.