The Muscatine Convention and Visitors Bureau has undergone several transformations since its inception. The agency was originally part of the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry before branching off into a separate free standing non-profit.
On July 1, 2015, the Convention and Visitors Bureau officially became a department of the City of Muscatine. The transition came with a new address, the CVB can now be found at City Hall, and also with new leadership.
On August 24, Ky Cochran stepped into the role of Director of the organization.
Cochran is a Muscatine resident who has been in Muscatine since 2014. Cochran, who is originally from Decatur, IL, is a 2013 graduate of Milliken University, where she earned her degree in creative writing. After graduation, Cochran was offered a position with the Muscatine Journal, which brought her to Muscatine.
Since that time, Cochran has developed a love for the people and community that is Muscatine. Cochran hopes to use that passion and love for the community to help in her position as she works to increase tourism and draw new people to the community.
According to Cochran, “We also help support events, such as the Muscatine Independent Film Festival recently, through grants and marketing efforts. Those events not only bring people from outside of our community in to enjoy our town and boost our economy, but they also bring value to our community itself, because residents can — and do — enjoy them alongside visitors. And those events make Muscatine even more culturally rich.”
One way that the CVB assists in providing those opportunities is through a mini-grant program. Organizers of events can apply for a mini-grant to help get their program up and running. Mini-grants have been awarded to the Muscatine Independent Film Festival, the Muscatine International Fair that took place over the summer, and even to the Muscatine River Monster.
Any event or organization that is aiming to capitalize on visitors to the Muscatine area can be considered.
The CVB is overseen by a seven member advisory board. Members are appointed by the Mayor and serve a 1 year term. The funding for grants and programs is paid for with revenue that the city collects from hotel and motel taxes.
The travel industry in Muscatine is more profitable than many residents are aware. According to a CVB press release, “In Muscatine County, travel-generated expenditures in 2014 totaled $80.25 million, employed 700 people and generated $4.33 million in state taxes and $950,000 in local taxes. Tourism in Iowa generates $8.06 billion in expenditures, employs 66,500 people statewide and generates $374 million in state taxes.”
Cochran says the department is a combination of partnering with programs that are working towards enhancing Muscatine and helping them to be more successful, and creating a program where one is needed. The ultimate aim is to continue to enhance Muscatine and all that the city and county have to offer.
While travel is a main component in what the CVB does, Cochran urges residents to not discount the organization. Residents can follow the CVB on Facebook, to keep up with local events and activities.
For more information on the CVB visit VisitMuscatine.com or call (563)272-2534.