With seven months away until the solar eclipse, but several organizations are gearing up and preparing for the influx of visitors to southern Illinois.
“Right now, estimations are 55,000 people will be coming, some say, to Carbondale… and some say to the region," said Carbondale Tourism Executive Director Cinnamon Smith. "We just don’t know for sure so it is very important that we prepare.”
This morning Carbondale Tourism held a meeting for local businesses, organizations and community members to discuss any questions about how to get involved, concerns and ideas for the businesses to gain more exposure regionally.
Kaleb Whipple’s company Silkworm, a unique one, is a "B-2-B." Their clients are the local businesses and counties.
“We are always constantly busy," said Silkworm Marketing Coordinator Whipple. "We do promotional products, signs, screen printings, we do a lot of work with local unions and everything, so we stay pretty busy constantly all year round.”
Some businesses will indirectly benefit from the increase in traffic this August like Silkworm, whereas, some will benefit directly from the visitors themselves.
Many stores will have all types of mementos for keepsake purposes. For example, Murdale Tru Value is already selling eclipse branded eye protection.
“I don’t exactly what we are doing…we are still looking at all the different things," explained George Sheffer, president of Murdale Tru Value. "So when you go to something like this, you’d like to walk away with something and say I have something that I remembered that I was here at that eclipse because they are not around all the time, so the people that do come here and see it would like some type of memento of what they saw and what they talked about”.
Businesses in the area are urged to sign up to get involved. Below are the websites:
southernillinoiseclipse.com - Sign up for a free business account. This is a regional website created by multiple local economic development and tourism groups who are preparing for a stellar opportunity to establish an information and promotion website for Southern Illinois during the August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
CarbondaleEclipse.com - This is where you can sign up for our monthly e-newsletter or contact Carbondale Tourism about vendor and volunteer opportunities
NationalEclipse.com - the website is focused on the eclipse nationally and can serve as a valuable source of general information about the eclipse for the Southern Illinois region
For the largest event for this region, this is one many can capitalize on.