Chicago is taking another important step toward achieving our goal of welcoming more than 50 million visitors annually by hosting IPW 2014, the premier marketplace for bringing international travelers to America. In just 77 days, Chicago will welcome this important event that encompasses more than 6,000 travel buyers, travel writers and other travel leaders representing more than 70 countries.
Chicago last hosted this prestigious event in 1998. It's no secret our city has evolved tremendously over the last 16 years. Millennium Park has gained global recognition, our dining scene has been transformed, we've added a stunning Modern Wing to the Art Institute, introduced the world to The Ledge at the Skydeck Chicago, and our neighborhoods have become an important component to a visitor's itinerary.
Needless to say, hosting IPW presents an unparalleled opportunity to promote international travel to Chicago and further reinforce the image of Chicago as a global city with friendly people, unmatched cultural attractions, award-winning chefs and restaurants and endless entertainment options.This important collection of travel buyers, suppliers and media will come together for several days of intensive pre-scheduled business appointments, and during that time will spur billions of dollars of future international travel to the U.S. The first-hand exposure to such a diverse international audience creates a separate and distinct impact for our city.
The U.S. Travel Association, the producer of IPW, has estimated that annually each five-day IPW convention results in significant business for the host city. The direct benefits that will result from Chicago hosting IPW include:
To ensure we set our city apart from other destinations in the U.S. and around the world will require enthusiastic support from all of you, our tourism community partners, state and local leaders, and the city’s residents themselves.
With a nationally coordinated program to promote America around the world, and improving visa and customs processes, there has been explosive growth in global travelers coming to the U.S. in recent years, and this is expected to continue. International visitors tend to stay longer and spend more than our domestic visitors, so everyone in the city can play an important role in creating jobs and advancing our future prosperity by serving as welcoming and effective brand ambassadors for Chicago.And if we all put out the welcome mat and take an active role in hosting our guests from around the world, they will likely continue to bring their friends for years to come.
When hosting IPW in April, Chicago has the opportunity to reintroduce more than 1,200 tour operators from more than 70 countries to our great city. A lot has changed during the past 16 years since we last hosted the convention in 1998. The following is just a sampling of the new and exciting features the city has to offer:
With dining a popular activity for international travelers, Chicago has a lot to offer them. The city has become an epicurean epicenter, boasting 5,500 restaurants. With globally recognized chefs opening multiple concepts, Chicago is just one of three U.S. cities to earn a coveted Michelin guide, which is a bible for international travelers.
International visitors also love to shop, and Chicago has continued to not only thrill them with the buying opportunities on the Magnificent Mile, Oak Street and State Street, but has expanded into our neighborhoods. With inviting boutiques spread throughout the city, travelers to Chicago are well-advised to bring an extra suitcase when they arrive.
The most obvious change to the city since 1998 has been the development of Millennium Park. Chicago’s newest icon has quickly become an international playground. With the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate, Crown Fountain, Lurie Garden and more, it has worldwide appeal to attract travelers with any interest imaginable.
In addition, the Willis Tower Skydeck offers spectacular views spanning up to four states, a one-stop Chicago experience full of interactive exhibits and The Ledge, a glass balcony experience extending four feet outside the 103rd floor and providing never-before-seen views of the city. Our international visitors may not be able to see their home country from there, but it sure may feel like it! Visit the Field Museum to discover Sue, the world's largest and most complete T. rex ever found.
Obviously, all of the museums and galleries will have new and updated exhibits. The famed Chicago Art Institute now boasts a beautiful Renzo Piano-designed modern wing. Chicago's museums are so rich and robust that our international guests will be able to explore everything from culture, history and art, to planet Earth, the military, and even surgical science.
Chicago’s theater scene is just as strong. IPW attendees will be able see anything from a world-premiere production bound for Broadway to an edgy drama that will leave them breathless. Chicago is the birthplace of improv comedy, so a comedy club visit will be on many a to-do list.
Since 1998, Chicago has added more than 5,000 new hotel rooms, increasing the number of rooms in the downtown core to more than 36,000. Lodging options for every budget have been added.
Visitors from around the globe are critical to the city’s prosperity because of the range of activities they enjoy, including dining in restaurants, shopping, sightseeing, visiting cultural heritage sites and historical places, and enjoying art galleries, museums, theme parks and other attractions. In addition, they very often take the time to explore small towns in the region.
GROWING INTERNATIONAL VISITORS TO SUPPORT CHICAGO'S ECONOMY AND JOBSMayor Emanuel and Choose Chicago announced in the fall that Chicago surpassed all expectations by welcoming a record 1.369 million overseas visitors in 2012. This represented an impressive 14.2 percent gain over the 2011, and moved Chicago into ninth place as the most visited U.S. city by international travelers.
Last year’s incredible performance validates the strategy and investment that have been made by city leaders and business aimed at the international marketplace the past two years. By hosting IPW, the premier marketplace for attracting international visitation to the U.S., Chicago stands to increase its share of global travelers to become among the top five U.S. destinations for overseas travel over the next several years.Every notch up in visitor ranking equals an additional $1.3 billion a year in economic activity for the city. Last year’s rise in the rankings helped drive the record hotel construction we witnessed, as well as a record hotel occupancy rate of more than 73 percent - the best since the 2008-2009 recession. That hotel occupancy produced more than $1 billion of revenue so far in 2013.
Choose Chicago currently operates 10 offices throughout eight countries and regions to help spur travel to the Windy City:
|Market||Visitors in 2012|
|United Kingdom (London)||151,000|
|Mexico (Mexico City)||147,000|
|China (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou)||120,000|
|Brazil (Sao Paulo)||63,000|
Growing international visitors is part of realizing Mayor Emanuel’s goal of welcoming 50 million visitors to Chicago by 2020. Reaching that goal would generate $1.3 billion a year in tax revenue and $14.7 billion in direct spending that would benefit businesses throughout the city.
Working with the right partners in the right countries and collaborating effectively with the Chicago Department of Aviation and our airline partners, we intend to meet Mayor Emanuel’s goal. Being great hosts and ambassadors for Chicago during IPW in April will be key to our success.
There are lots of ways to get involved. Choose Chicago is leading the IPW hosting effort and there are sponsorship packages available at many different levels.
To learn more about sponsorship opportunities contact Nina Winston, Choose Chicago's Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-567-8561.
We are seeking 800+ volunteers to assist with greeting, information desks, transportation, sightseeing tours, evening events and more.
Volunteers who sign up and complete two or more IPW 2014 shifts will receive two complimentary tickets to one of the following Chicago attractions:
John Hancock Observatory, Art Institute of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, Adler Planetarium or The Field Museum
For more details and to register: http://www.choosechicago.com/articles/view/Volunteer/925/