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      Tri-State tourism: Travel at your leisure

      Quincy's Villa Kathrine

      The numbers are in and its good news for Illinois tourism.

      Adams, Pike and Hancock counties brought in a record $137 million for the 2011 year. Visitors spent 89 million dollars in Adams County alone.

      When it comes to travel in the Tri-States, it's all about leisure. It helped double last year's budget for the Quincy Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

      "Visitors come for meetings, but they come back to Quincy, and go, 'oh, I've never been here and it has so much to offer, and so affordable too.' I think that's where we can outshine our competition, because we really are an affordable destination," Holly Cain with the QACVB said.

      "We tried to really market toward that and really pump more, even national marketing toward our 36/65 Strong campaign, which is our architectural buildings on the national register," Cain said.

      Cain says historic homes and driving tours have been a huge hit for motor coach groups. And it's not just Quincy gaining popularity. There's a marketable and diverse experience in all three counties.

      "To do one add for all three counties is very difficult, because they are so different. But we're seeing the benefits of it because it's attracting a diverse traveler."

      In the summer, visitors flock to Hancock County. It's a huge market for family trips and events like the Nauvoo Pageant, and in the fall, Pike County welcomes a strong number of hunting and recreational travelers.

      One of the area's main attractions is simply driving the Great River Road.

      "They're just traveling the whole ten state route and we're on that river road. We've just really seen a surge in people coming here for recreational activities and it's nice to be at our visitor's center. We see why they're coming and hopefully, they'll come back," Cain said.

      The state of Illinois has rewarded the Quincy area with a larger grant this year because of 2011's success. That will add up to $108,000 for next years marketing projects.