Illinois looking to attract international visitors

Illinois looks to attract international tourists

FILE - In this July 10, 2012 file photo, Abraham Lincoln presenter Fritz Klein joins others in period attire as they learn how to use this "new-fangled" mobile ways to access the events and schedules for History Comes Alive at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Ill. Illinois wants to attract more international tourists and is harnessing the recent popularity of Abraham Lincoln and social media tools as the state looks to market itself overseas with help from a federally funded travel promotional group. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

CHICAGO (AP) -- The state of Illinois is looking to attract more international visitors.

Illinois Office of Tourism Director Jen Hoelzle plans to discuss the state's efforts Thursday when she gives her "State of the State of Tourism" address at the Governor's Conference on Travel and Tourism. So far she says the state spent $115,000 playing ads touting Illinois before the movie "Lincoln" played at theaters in the United Kingdom and Germany.

The state is trying to attract domestic visitors too. The tourism office spent $50,000 putting an ad for on auto racing star Danica Patrick's car at the Daytona 500. The deal includes another ad on a second Patrick car.

Illinois had 1.25 million overseas visitors in 2001. Hoelzle says that's good, but the state can do better.