Advocacy Toolkit

CONTENTS:

Talking Points / Key Messages

How to Contact a Legislator

Building a Relationship with Your Legislator

 

TALKING POINTS / KEY MESSAGES

TOURISM:

  • Tourism in Chicago currently represents 50.2 million visitors, over 136,000 jobs, $14.1 billion in direct spending and $885 million in tax revenues.
  • Tourism is one of Chicago's leading industries and is a critical part of Chicago's economic development strategy.
  • Tourism is a major engine for economic growth and job creation; it can drive our city's recovery.
  • Tourism creates jobs that CANNOT be outsourced and hires people of all education levels.
  • Tourism supports 1 in every 8 American jobs.
  • Tourism is shovel ready.


THE JOLT ACT:

  • The JOLT Act would modernize and expand the Visa Waiver Program by updating eligibility requirements, facilitate the use of secure videoconferencing for interviews, reduce visa wait times and expand the Global Entry Program.
  • If passed, the JOLT Act would increase annual visitation by more than 600,000, add more than $7 billion to the U.S. economy and support more than 40,000 additional American jobs.
  • International visitors support more than one million U.S. jobs
  • Every 33 additional overseas visitors create 1 American job. 
  • Overseas visitors to the United States spend an average of $4,455 per visit.
  • JOLT Sample Letter 

IMPROVING TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE:

  • The U.S. air traffic control system uses World War II-era technology that often results in unnecessary delays and cancellations. Cars have GPS , phones have GPS, why can't airplanes have them?
  • Forty-five percent of major urban highways are congested which means by 2030, 11 urban areas will experience traffic levels comparable or worse than Los Angeles - the most congested city in the country. 
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gives the U.S. aviation infrastructure a D grade and estimates that airport construction cost the U.S. economy $24 billion in 2012.
  • Travelers avoided an estimated 41 million trips in 2008 due to frustrations with the U.S. travel process. This cost America $26.5 billion in lost economic activity. 
  • The FAA projects U.S. air travel will grow by 50%, from 730 million passengers in 2011 to 1.2 billion in 2022.


GOVERNMENT MEETINGS:

  • 875,000 jobs are supported by meetings and events travel, 290,000 of which are supported by government meetings alone.
  • Combining all of the wages earned by meetings and events travel it would come to a massive $27 trillion.
  • Across-the-board cuts to travel budgets would impact important services provided to taxpayers and travel businesses.


HOW TO CONTACT A LEGISLATOR:

There are multiple ways to contact your legislator to get your point across. But first be sure to check out our Find Your Legislator page and discover who your legislators are.
Once you've done that, any of the following mediums will work to get your information to your legislator:

  • Phone call
  • Letter
  • Set up a meeting (call the office and ask to set-up a meeting with the legislator)
  • E-mail
  • Social media (many elected officials have Twitter or Facebook accounts)


BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR:

You've gotten a meeting with your legislator, what do you do now? How can you best effectively communicate your message and stand out among all other issues? Above all, how do you become a PRIORITY?

Here are a few tips to help break through the clutter and send your message loud and clear.

  1. Personalization: An ounce of personalized extra effort is worth a pound of persuasion. The more personalized you make the request; the more likely you will be heard. Talk to your legislator about what tourism means for your business, your employees and to you personally.
  2. The Power of Simplicity: Do not underestimate the power of simplicity - Using overly complex language can produce the exact opposite of the intended effect. 
  3. Finding Common Ground: Find relatable common ground. Thing like friends in common, hometowns or alma maters to create bridges.
  4. Concrete vs. Abstract: Research shows that concrete images are likely to be more effective than abstract ones. Talk about real people, real places and real problems. 
  5. Notes: After completing the meeting, send a hand written thank you note thanking them for their time and highlighting your discussion. Offering again your contact information if they need any follow-up.
  6. Herd Mentality: Herds are persuasive because people are motivated to follow other people's behavior. Let them know who else is backing your request. Show the support for it.