Some towns lowering tourist expectations - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Some towns lowering tourist expectations

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CARBONDALE -- A shadow of disappointment has begun sweeping across some parts of southern Illinois this weekend.

Businesses and residents say they expected, by now, large crowds of tourists to be out and about shopping, providing a big boost for the local economy.

Some expectations, however, have been eclipsed by reality.

With the total solar eclipse less than 24 hours away, traffic began perking up Sunday in Carbondale, but it's also leaving people wondering if the numbers are going to match what was previously predicted.

<I mean you see people walking around, but it's not overly crowded and all that," said Brian Fernandez-Ng, of Flagstaff, Arizona.

Brian and his father came to Carbondale to enjoy the longest duration of the eclipse.

But while the traffic in some areas may look like a lot of people, some destinations are empty.

On Facebook, some people say the fear of congestion kept them home. 

And some businesses  are disappointed in the lack of turnout, saying their weekend sales have not brought what they were expecting. 

Illinois tourism director Cory Jobe says however, the crowds will likely grow as the evening progresses.

"Obviously with the eclipse happening in the afternoon tomorrow, you're going to see increased numbers as the evening goes along and obviously here tomorrow."

Brian says traffic congestion is what stopped them from going to Oregon.

Instead, they came to Carbondale, in hope of lighter crowds.

"Here in Carbondale? I don't believe it has. I think Oregon has it worse than we have right now."

However, no matter how many people show up, tourism officials say the eclipse will provide a multi-million dollar economic boost for Southern Illinois.

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