The 8th annual Miles of Possibility Route 66 Conference will highlight the international nature of Route 66, the growing popularity of travel on that highway, and the potential economic impact of related tourism in communities along that highway corridor. Scheduled for October 19 – 22 the conference in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois includes a diverse array of informational presentations and programs, promotional opportunities for communities and businesses, and networking sessions that facilitate developement of cooperative partnerships.
Mohave County and Colorado River Valley communities are ideally suited to capitalize on Route 66 tourism. Many enthusiasts, as well as companies that specialize in Route 66 tours, visit popular destinations and attractions such as Lake Havasu City, Arizona, Grand Canyon West, Laughlin, Nevada, and Hualapai Mountain Park.
The Oklahoma Route 66 Centennial Commission was established by the state of Oklahoma in 2019. This was in anticipation of a dramatic increase in Route 66 centric tourism that is expected in 2026, the centennial anniversary for that highway.
Numerous communities and states have established similar committees and commissions, or established events to prepare for centennial celebrations. In Kingman, Arizona, the annual Kingman Route 66 Fest held in Lewis Kingman Park each October was established as a key component in the city’s centennial celebration plans.
This year The Buzz will be attending the conference and provide updates as well as coverage during the event. Through special arrangement with Jim Hinckley, developer of the Jim Hinckley’s America network and author of numerous books including Ghost Towns of The Southwest, The Route 66 Encyclopedia, and Travel Route 66, a travel itinerary that will include meetings with business owners, tourism directors, and city officials as well as filming locations along Route 66 has been developed. This will allow for the provision of pertinent updates during travel to Bloomington.
The diverse slate of speakers scheduled for the conference mirror the unique nature of Route 66 and related tourism in the 21st century. Marian Pavel from Bratislava, Slovakia will present “Post-pandemic Route 66.” Marian of Touch Media is a journalist with a two decade career in print and digital publishing, online marketing, and PR communication for prominent Slovak media at both local and multinational publishing houses. In late 2017, Pavel introduced the innovative Route 66 Navigation app. He also developed the Mother Road Route 66 Passport and is currently working on Route 66 centennial verisions of both products.
Scott Dahl will present “Route 66: The Road to 2026.” Scott has served as Director of the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau since August 2018. Prior to leading the SCVB, he was Regional Director of Membership for the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association for sixteen years. Scott is currently developing plans for the city of Springfield to host a special Miles of Possibility Route 66 Conference in 2026 as well as other Route 66 centennial events.
Cory Jobe will be speaking about development and historic preservation efforts along the last 100 miles of Route 66 in Illinois. Jobe is the President and CEO of the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau where he works to promote domestic and international visitor travel. He is the former Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism.
The theme for this years conference is “The Great American Road Trip.” In his presentation Hinckley, a keynote speaker, will chronicle the origins of the American road trip, and explain how this history can be used in the development of tourism.
In the profile of Hinckley and his program on the Miles of Possibility Route 66 Conference website it is noted that, “Less well known is his instigation of the Miles of Possibility conferences at which he has been a presenter on various topics.”
The conference offers several promotional opportunities for communties and businesses. Space is limited but an informational booth will be created for the conference where rack cards and promotional materials are displayed. At the closing of the conference there will be a raffle of donated items.
If you have materials for the information booth, or the raffle, they can be sent to:
ATTN: Terri Ryburn
Ryburn Gifts & Gab
305 Pine Street
Normal IL 61761