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15 organizations in Iowa and Illinois have come together to jointly promote the middle Mississippi River Valley region in a new initiative announced on April 12, 2010.

The new Travel Mississippi River partnership is comprised of Convention & Visitors Bureaus and Chambers of Commerce along the Mississippi River in Iowa and Illinois from Dubuque, Iowa, south to Quincy, Illinois.

This new marketing and promotional effort provides a strong, local voice for these bi-state communities along the Mississippi River and will generate strong partnerships among the communities through joint marketing, public relations, and advertising efforts designed to increase national attention and travel to this region of the Mississippi River and the Great River Road.

Partners include: Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, Savanna Chamber of Commerce / City of Savanna, Blackhawk Waterways Convention & Visitors Bureau, Fulton Chamber of Commerce/City of Fulton, Clinton Convention & Visitors Bureau, City of LeClaire/LeClaire Tourism, City of Port Byron, Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, Muscatine Convention & Visitors Bureau, Henderson County Economic Development Corp., Greater Burlington Convention & Visitors Bureau, Fort Madison Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Keokuk Convention & Tourism Bureau, Nauvoo Tourism Office, Quincy Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Travel Mississippi River partnership is a grass roots initiative that was launched in October 2009 when these organizations came together to voluntarily work as a team to develop the tourism product offered along this beautiful stretch of the Mississippi River.

The result of these efforts to date is the launch of a new website at www.TravelMississippiRiver.org. The site is designed to highlight each participating community, and to create connections among the communities to form a complete Mississippi River destination between the bi-state cities and towns in Iowa and Illinois. The new site features a trip planner that includes Culinary, Girlfriends Getaways, History & Heritage, and Outdoor Recreation themed itineraries. More themed trips will be added in the future.

Future plans for the Travel Mississippi River partnership include the development of a promotional brochure to be jointly distributed by all 15 organizations, a cooperative advertising program, and joint travel journalist visits.

While the effort focuses on leisure travelers, the partnership plans to also work to develop group tour promotions for the hundreds of motorcoach buses that travel to this region of the Mississippi River.

"I commend these communities for focusing on the tremendous asset they share and recognizing they will all benefit by working together to promote the Mississippi River. The new web site will be an excellent tool to keep people in the region longer," said Nancy Landess, Iowa Tourism Office Manager. Seeking ways to pool marketing resources in this tough economy, this new coalition recognized the benefits of working together on cross-promoting the entire bi-state region. "The Travel Mississippi River partnership is a creative way to increase tourism along the Great River Road and to Illinois," said Jan Kostner, deputy director, Illinois Office of Tourism.

"A unified partnership within our region and its communities will enhance the traveler's experience. From big city excitement to small town hospitality - the traveler will be able to experience it all while traveling the scenic Great River Road and exploring the mighty Mississippi! www.TravelMississippiRiver.org will be a wonderful tool to market, promote, and connect the communities with the travelers,” said Carrie Koelker, Eastern Iowa Tourism Office Executive Director.

As the third largest river in the world and the second most-visited U.S. natural resource (after the Grand Canyon), the Mississippi is truly a sight to behold. Experience the power and mystique of the river that captivated Mark Twain. See the mighty Mississippi River while traveling the rolling hills and majestic countryside of the Great River Road in Illinois and Iowa in order to see what each town has to offer.

In 2009, National Geographic Traveler named the Great River Road from Minneapolis to Davenport as one of the 50 "Drives of a Lifetime." With the museums and attractions that have cropped up along the way, it is "not only one of the most scenic drives in the country, but also one of the culturally richest." Through its charming river towns and metropolitan cities, historic sites and cultural artifacts, today's Great River Road links resources, people and history.

The Travel Mississippi River partnership invites you to learn about the history that made each community what it is today. They encourage you to take time to take advantage of the great parks, trails, gardens, and natural wonders while enjoying the wealth of attractions, historic sites, quaint shops, and fun-filled festivals along the mighty river. Also, be sure to tempt your tastebuds with the local, family-owned restaurants, wineries, and micro-breweries along the way.