Illinois Office of Tourism Deputy Director, Jen Hoelzle, helps celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week by sharing her thoughts and reflections on the importance of travel.
Do you remember a family vacation from your childhood that stands out in your mind as extra special?
I bet you can vividly recall every detail of that trip, right down to the gigantic banana split your parents let you order all by yourself – because you were on vacation. Maybe it was your first time on an airplane. Maybe you remember playing road trip games in the car with your siblings to pass the time, like counting how many different state license plates you could spot.
Special vacation treats create memories that last a lifetime (Photo credit: Mark Segal)
Family vacations are an important part of keeping family members connected to each other, and memories created during those special family moments can often last a lifetime. In fact, according to the U.S. Travel Association, three quarters of vacationers older than 55 say they still have vivid memories of childhood vacations, more vivid than memories of school events or even birthdays. Even birthdays? Yes, that’s right. The things we do during vacations form the most lasting memories.
Not only does travel keep family members connected, but it also helps to strengthen romantic relationships. A survey by the U.S. Travel Association revealed that couples who travel together have better relationships – and better sex – than those who stay home. Of the 1,100 U.S. adults surveyed, 77% of those who travel as a couple say that have a good sex life, compared with 63% of couples who don’t travel together.
Public beaches in Chicago offer a convenient family playground complete with sand, water and sun! (Photo credit: Mark Segal)
The personal benefits of travel, including relationship building, happiness and engagement, make up the “Travel Effect” – this year’s theme for the U.S. Travel Association’s annual National Travel and Tourism Week. 2013 marks the 29th anniversary of National Travel and Tourism Week, and we are excited to be celebrating once again in Illinois this year. Traditionally, the industry commemorates the week with rallies, special events and by encouraging legislatures to help make strides and improvements that will benefit travelers in their local and state communities.
This year, Illinois is showcasing how travel makes our lives better. To help celebrate the Travel Effect theme, we are encouraging people to share their greatest travel moments in Illinois with us, through the Magnificent Stuff campaign. Starting on May 6, participants can submit their favorite photos and videos to us via the Enjoy Illinois Facebook Page, our YouTube channel or a special website, for a chance to have their “stuff” featured in an Illinois advertisement later this summer.
As we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week and the “Travel Effect” here in Illinois, I urge you to take a step back from your busy schedule and the stressors of everyday life. Sit down with your family and carve out time to getaway on that family vacation you’ve been talking about for years.
Maybe it is discovering stunning wonders in Chicago, like world-renowned museums, magnificent skyscrapers and acclaimed restaurants. Or, it’s stepping back through time during a stroll down Galena’s historic and picturesque Main Street. Maybe it is zipping through the trees of the breathtaking Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois, or walking in the footsteps of one our nation’s greatest Presidents in the Land of Lincoln. Whatever it is, take the time to escape and spend quality time with your family.
Take your family to new heights in the beautiful Shawnee National Forest
I welcome you and your family to Illinois and hope your trip is filled with lots of laughs, fun and most importantly, great memories.
–Jen Hoelzle, Deputy Director
Illinois Office of Tourism