Cory Jobe, former director of the Illinois Office of Tourism, has been tapped to lead the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau as its new president and CEO starting Nov. 15.
Jobe, who led Illinois’ tourism efforts for nearly four years, was hired Oct. 16 by the Great Rivers & Routes Board of Directors. Jobe’s appointment follows an extensive two-month search for the CEO position following the resignation of Brett Stawar in August. Stawar was hired for a similar post in Port Aransas/Mustang Island, Texas, after 16 years at the bureau’s helm.
“The hiring of Cory Jobe marks a truly historic day for the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau,” said John Hopkins, chairman of the tourism bureau’s Board of Directors. “No one in Illinois is more respected in tourism; no one in tourism does not know his name. The hiring of Cory Jobe elevates the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau to new heights, where truly the sky is the limit. While 2020 surely has not been a good year, it ends on a most positive note. Welcome, Cory … we all look forward to the success we can achieve together.”
Jobe comes to the bureau with a wealth of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, most recently serving as vice president of marketing and communication for Navy Pier, the most-visited nonprofit tourism attraction in the Midwest. While at the pier, Jobe was charged with leading marketing, branding and communications initiatives. In his first year, the pier established a data-driven strategy to drive an increase in visitor attendance by 2 percent and visitor spending by 3 percent. This is the first time in three years visitor attendance has increased.
During his time at the Illinois Office of Tourism, Jobe worked in collaboration with tourism industry professionals to promote domestic and international visitor travel to Illinois, expand international marketing efforts into China and Mexico, and increase domestic visitor spending, visitor volume and state and local tax revenues year over year.
“I look forward to leading the bureau as its next president-CEO,” Jobe said. “The Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau is well-established and the region is one of the top-visited areas in Illinois. I am excited to work along-side our board of directors, sites, attractions, small business owners, community leaders and the bureau team to grow leisure travel, expand our meetings and convention business, further develop our sports tourism program, and expand marketing efforts to targeted visitors from regional drive markets.”
The Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau encompasses six counties in southwest Illinois, including Madison, Jersey, Calhoun, Macoupin, Montgomery and Greene. The bureau is a certified destination marketing organization.