CVB aims to grow local economy through tourism

The Hillsboro Convention and Visitors Bureau has defined its purpose as ?bringing visitors to the community with the intent of generating positive exposure for the city and additional revenue for the local economy.?

?We want people to know Hillsboro is here,? said Peni Ens, CVB chair.

The CVB tries to promote Hillsboro in various ways.

Their latest project is to bring people to town by organizing an all-class reunion for Hillsboro High School alums.

?A reunion like this hasn?t happened in a number of years, and we felt the year 2000 would be a good time to do it,? Ens said.

During the reunion, participants can tour the high school facilities and then enjoy a meal provided by CVB members.

Ens said the board is considering organizing a reunion every five years to give former students a chance to see high school friends on classes other than just their own.

The board also works with the Hillsboro Historical Society to create brochures that promote the city and the Hillsboro Folk Festival.

In the future, the board hopes to put develop information packages about various places of interest in Hillsboro. Relevant information would be available in one place for tour directors and other people thinking of visiting the city.

The board tries to promote and enhance the city?s historical attractions. For instance, the board has began developing tulip displays around the Adobe House and Friesen Mill.

The board faces the challenge of finding funds to pay for the projects it wants to pursue.

?We?re a board that doesn?t have a lot of money,? Ens said.

CVB receives $13,000 from the city. Of that, $11,500 goes to the Hillsboro Management Board to support the office staff CVB shares with the Chamber of Commerce, Arts & Crafts Association, Hillsboro Development Corporation and the Marion County Fair.

Tracy Isaac, who works in the office, handles tourism inquiries and represents CVB interests by participating in a variety of tourism-related events and organizations, including the Prairie People Tourism Association and the South Central Kansas Tourism Region.

To help raise funds to pay for projects like the city?s new full-color promotional brochure, the board has sold box lunches once a quarter and tulip bulbs during the Kansas State Fair and the Kansas Sampler Festival.

The board also plans to generate additional funds through the all-class reunion and by selling concessions at local events.

The board meets once a month, and the executive committee meets the week prior to the meeting.

To organize their work, CVB members have formed four sub-committees: conventions and meetings, promotions, research and development, and revenue.

?I think it?s a focused group that tries to bring touring and people into Hillsboro,? Ens said.

Members of the CVB board are Ens, Betty Price, Shelly Plett, Pam Riesen, Don Ratzlaff, Cheryl Jost, Kim Krienke, Jillian McCarty, Scott Russell, Joel Klaassen and Peggy Goertzen.

Carol Wiebe and Tracy Isaac participate as staff members and Mayor Delores Dalke represents the city council.

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