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Mayor Emanuel today announced an innovative new program in which Chicago hotels and DirectTV will collaborate to broadcast Chinese cable television stations, as part of the city’s ongoing efforts to attract Chinese visitors.
“This is a great partnership that will allow our Chinese visitors to feel even more comfortable when they are in Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “It will further advance Chicago as a destination for tourism and business alike, and demonstrates this administration’s commitment to being the most China-friendly city in the United States.”
The program is a partnership between DirecTV, CCTV4 (which is China Cable Television’s international station) and the Chicago hotel industry. The program, which carries absolutely no cost to the city of Chicago, could ultimately result in nearly 20,000 Chicago hotel rooms carrying the television station. The program benefits the suburbs as well – an additional 13,000 suburban hotel rooms may participate in the first phase.
Mayor Emanuel asked DirecTV earlier this year to explore the idea of having China Cable Television aired in Chicago area hotels, and DirecTV worked alongside the Chinese Consul General and World Business Chicago to facilitate the relationships. These numbers are for the initial phase of this arrangement; more hotel rooms may be added in the future.
This announcement comes on the heels of a recent announcement that Cathay Pacific has begun to offer daily non-stop flights between Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). The addition of Cathay Pacific passenger service is estimated to bring nearly $200 million in economic activity to the Chicago region. These flights bring to more than 40 the number of direct flights each week between Chicago and China, in addition to the 43 weekly cargo flights.
In 2010, Chicago welcomed nearly 100,000 visitors from China. Hotels are expected to begin implementation immediately.