Tour, Grande Levée translate into local dollars

Anyone in Vandalia who has questioned the value of tourism in the past should have seen that value in the past week.
First, many residents watched hundreds and hundreds of vehicles, many of them classic cars and trucks, go through town at participants in the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour made their way to Indianapolis, Ind.
What many didn't see were the stops that those drivers made in town, either to fill up on fuel or grab something to eat, or both.
Those dollars were pumped into our local economy because the organizers of the tour wanted participants to drive by and take a look at the Vandalia Statehouse. Otherwise, they would have continued their trek east on Interstate 70, likely spending their dollars in Effingham.
Then, on Friday and Saturday, large crowds were on hand for the return of the Grande Levée at the Vandalia Statehouse. Those crowds included both local residents and visitors to enjoy the event, and townspeople and tourists here to display their period crafts.
While in town, many of our visitors drifted off of the Statehouse grounds to visit downtown businesses. They also likely fueled up at local gas stations and/or got fed up at local restaurants.
And some of our local hotels played hosts to out-of-state crafts people and performers.
So, now, when you see the city, Vandalia Historical Society, Vandalia Tourism Commission, Old Capitol Foundation or other local organizations spending funds for tourism projects, you understand why they are doing it.
Tourism is big business, both in Illinois, and as we witnessed within the past week, in Vandalia.
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