De Immigrant is one of the many sites to visit in Fulton, Ill.

The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

FULTON, Ill. — During the Fulton City Council’s regular meeting Monday night, Tourism Director Heather Bennett gave a Tourism and Chamber of Commerce quarterly report.

Bennett also asked three members of the Fulton business community to speak on the effects of and the need for tourism in the community.

“But to me, a city without tourism is a city without vision. You have to have tourism come into your city to bring life, to bring new ideas,” said Wendy Ottens, owner of Sweet Woodruff. She said the existing tourism in Fulton does a great job of helping business and the local businesses try to push local tourism.

Ottens said she feels three different types of towns exist in this area. She said some towns are “pass-through” towns where people rarely stop. Other larger towns have big businesses, which people will flock to for their supplies. The third type of town is a destination town. Ottens said she feels Fulton is a destination town. She said people in the community work hard to help this town grow as a great destination.

“You have lots and lots of volunteers that want Fulton to succeed, but they need the support of the City Council to do that,” said Ottens.

She said people must work together to help the community thrive and gain more tourist interest.

Ottens said the council and the city need to help to increase tourism. One suggestion Ottens proposed was to add a more impressive and noticeable marker on Illinois 84 to attract people passing by, especially those heading to Galena, Ill. She said she feels such a marker would help greatly to bring more people into Fulton.

“People come into this town for another reason than to shop. You got to pull them in, you got to pull them in some way, especially in small little towns,” said Ottens. She said any investment made for tourism expenses would be worth it in the end. Ottens said she believes Fulton is moving in the right direction and simply needs to continue forward.

Bill Blecha, a new Fulton resident and investor, said the Fulton windmill initially brought him and his wife to the area. They were impressed with the Fulton Chamber of Commerce and decided to settle here. Blecha said the community has a great deal of wonderful sites to draw tourism. He said this is important in order to draw the type of residents to the area who will bring something to the community. Blecha said he feels Fulton is a wonderful place to live and raise children and grandchildren.

Susan May has been a part of the Fulton business community for eight years. Owner of three businesses, May said many people come from far distances to visit Fulton’s attractions and shop.

May said, however, that the community needs to look at other ways to increase tourism even more. One suggestion May offered was to look into getting more tour bus groups to make Fulton a place to stop. She said the community has enough sites, shops and restaurants to be a great location for bus tours. May also suggested looking in to getting a billboard near Galena to advertise Fulton tourist attractions.

“We need to be known as a town that has lots of different things to do,” said May.