CHICAGO - Mayor Emanuel today addressed the membership of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, outlining some of his ambitious goals for the city’s tourism landscape in the coming years, including the opening of new offices in Brazil, Germany and Japan later this year.
“Chicago is a global city with worldwide appeal, and I am committed to ensuring that people around the world have a chance to experience our magnificent city firsthand,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I am dedicated to dramatically increasing the number of visitors to Chicago and fostering economic development and job growth throughout the city as a result of these efforts.”
Last year, a Chicago-focused tourism office was opened in London, and in March of this year, offices were opened in Mexico City and Toronto. Today’s announcement of the three additional cities will ensure that Chicago is represented on four continents.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Chicago’s tourism efforts will be joined into one cohesive organization, which will be called Choose Chicago. This combination will allow the City to save nearly $2 million a year in resources which can be employed directly to attracting more visitors to the City. Of particular interest to the City are overseas visitors, who spend on average $4,000 per visit.
Additionally, Mayor Emanuel has set a goal that the city will attract 50 million visitors annually by the year 2020, and rank in the top five nationally in terms of international visitors (currently Chicago is tenth).
“Chicago's continued expansion of international offices will bring the necessary forces to bear to reach Mayor Emanuel's ambitious goal of 50 million visitors by 2020,” said Don Welsh, President and CEO of Choose Chicago. “Chicago's global presence as a visitor destination will be enhanced with these offices.”
Emanuel additionally announced today that Chicago will play host to the U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow in 2014, for the first time in more than 15 years. Pow Wow is the travel industry's premier marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the U.S. Pow Wow is a three-day session of prescheduled business appointments featuring more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations and more than 1,200 International and Domestic Buyers. Pow Wow allows for more than $3.5 billion worth of travel to be planned efficiently, saving countless business and planning trips. The conference has not been held in Chicago since 1998.