Illinois hopes ‘Lincoln’ will inspire tourism


A depiction of the Gettysburg address (Image: AP)

Abraham Lincoln cuts a huge figure in American culture. But can a film about the 16th President of the United States help inspire tourism to the state in which he lived and is buried? Illinois thinks it can.

With Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ having earned US$21 million on its opening weekend in the US, Illinois tourism officials are hoping the state will have similar success in drawing travelers its way, the Chicago Business Journal reported.

“With the new film, there’s a renewed interest in Abraham Lincoln’s life, and nowhere gets you closer than Illinois,’” Illinois Office of Tourism deputy director Jen Hoelzle said.

“From Springfield to Alton, New Salem to Chicago, Lincoln’s legacy lives in nearly every corner of the state.”

According to the Journal, Lincoln-related attractions lured 1.5 million visitors in 2011, with the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, the New Salem State Historic Site and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, the three most popular sites.

Part of the Lincoln push, the Springfield Lincoln Museum will be offering discounted entry for moviegoers presenting ticket stubs to the film, while the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity got in on the act by hiring a Lincoln impersonator to make stops at Springfield-area theaters and other Lincoln sites in the area.

However, Illinois isn’t the only state hoping to cash in on the film, with authorities in Virginia, where the movie was shot, also looking for a slice of the Lincoln pie.

Calling Virginia “one of the stars of the film”, Virginia Tourism Corporation president and chief executive Rita McClenny said the state was already seeing a surge in interest from the release, the Huffington Post reported.

With this in mind, the state recently debuted the ‘Lincoln Movie Trail’, a website and self-guided tour of the locations used by Spielberg and his cast.

The tour features such sites as the Virginia Capitol, the Confederate White House and the Dixie Restaurant in Petersburg, where the director and crew dined.

Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H
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