Janesville25.4°

Tour helps key tourism staffer 'discover' Janesville

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David Brazy
June 24, 2011
— Rave Petell has lived in Janesville since 2007, but he’d never been to Rotary Botanical Gardens.

That changed Thursday.


Petell, the owner and general manager of Janesville’s Motel 6, 3907 Milton Ave., said even though he has heard of interesting places to visit in the city, he hasn’t had the chance to visit many of them.


The Janesville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau gave Petell and 25 other key players in Janesville’s tourism industry the chance to discover the city on a four-hour tour Thursday.


Visitors Bureau Executive Director Christine Rebout said the tour was all about informing the city’s frontline tourism staffers what Janesville has to offer. The tour’s guests included restaurant servers, hotel workers and volunteers who work at the city’s visitor center.


“My greatest fear is a tourist is going to come into the city and ask a server, ‘What is there to do here,’ and he or she will say ‘Oh, there’s nothing’ and send them to another city,” Rebout said. “Now they can say, ‘Yesterday I went to the botanical gardens and we saw this and that.”


The bureau has been offering the tours off and on for the last 10 years to keep workers informed of the different entertainment options available visitors to Janesville. Thursday, the group stopped at the Rock County Historical Society, The Armory, Lincoln Tallman House, Janesville Performing Arts Center, Rotary Botanical Gardens, Traxler Park and some other places.


Rebout said the tour generated a lot of positive feedback about dinner options available at Armory and the Speakeasy Lounge and Restaurant.


“Now the hotel people will have another option to suggest places for people to go for dinner,” she said.


Petell said he got some good ideas to offer people who stay at his hotel. The bureau also gave out information packets on different schedules and events at all the places the tour visited Thursday.


At his first trip to the gardens, Petell learned the facility is installing a new Japanese garden and is fixing up the pond area this summer. He also said he enjoyed his visit to the Lincoln Tallman House.


“We went and saw the Tallman house, which I had heard about,” he said. “And it was absolutely phenomenal.”



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