Michael Samm

Choose Chicago, the official tourism organization for Chicago, in partnership with the Illinois Office of Tourism and Explore St. Louis, the official tourism organization for St. Louis, today announced a partnership to promote leisure travel and tourism between the two cities.  The Chicago and Illinois teams will host an event at Goose Island Brew Pub on Friday, May 2 prior to the Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals game at Wrigley Field.  The first full week of May is annually recognized as National Travel and Tourism Week, a tradition first celebrated in 1984, established by a Congressional joint resolution passed in 1983.

The central theme of National Travel and Tourism Week is to promote what is known as the Travel Effect, a campaign that seeks to understand why American workers don't utilize their earned paid time off and communicates travel's widespread positive impact on relationships, physical health, education and the economy. 

Nearly three-quarters of all American workers earn paid time off (PTO) including vacation time and personal days. However, most do not use all of the time they have earned. The U.S. Travel Association commissioned a study conducted by Oxford Economics to better understand why employees do not take paid time off and how the U.S. economy and a range of industries would benefit if workers used more of the leave they have earned. The study cited factors such as heavy workload, economic pressures and needs of the employer for American workers not taking advantage of their paid time off. The study also uncovered that on average, 3.2 vacations days go unused per American employee per year which equates to more than 400 million unused vacation days and a loss of more than $160 billion dollars in American economic output. The findings also concluded that if American workers took more of their earned leave, the economy would benefit from 1.2 million new jobs and an additional $52 billion in earned income. 

"We are excited to be working with Explore St. Louis on this initiative," said Don Welsh, Choose Chicago President and CEO. "U.S. Travel Association's research on how travel positively impacts the lives of Americans is astonishing. The economic benefits we can deliver by promoting travel between our cities can't be ignored and the friendly rivalry between the Cubs and Cardinals is no better way to do just that."

The kick-off event will take place from 10:00am to 1:00pm at Goose Island Brew Pub in Wrigleyville on Friday, May 2. The event is free and open to the public. Guests will enjoy live music by local Chicago band Ghosthouse, free food and prizes. The grand prize is a two-day trip for four to St. Louis inclusive of tickets to the Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Friday, August 29th.

"We look forward to rolling out the red carpet to the lucky Cubs fan who wins the Grand Prize.  While we may be archrivals on the field, we welcome scores of Chicagoans to St. Louis each year and are delighted to be partnering with Choose Chicago and the Illinois Office of Tourism," said St. Louis CVC President Kitty Ratcliffe.

The winner of Chicago's two-day trip for four which was given away on the Great Day St. Louis morning show, will be present on Friday, May 2 at Goose Island and will attend the Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals game at Wrigley Field later that day.

"We are thrilled to partner with Choose Chicago and Explore St. Louis to help celebrate the important role travel plays in our communities across our great states," said Jen Hoelzle, Illinois State Travel Director. "Leisure travel not only provides personal benefits, but it is also an important component of the United States' economic engine, providing jobs for more than 14 million Americans."

For complete details on U.S. Travel Association's National Travel and Tourism Week and the Travel Effect visit the official NTTW website. Follow and support via #NTTW14 and #TravelEffect.

About Choose Chicago
Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor destination leveraging the city's unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. For more information, visit

About Illinois Office of Tourism
The Illinois Office of Tourism mission is to manage industry efforts that result in sustainable and significant economic and quality-of-life benefits for Illinois residents. For more information, visit:

About Explore St. Louis
Founded in 1909, the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission (CVC) is the official destination marketing organization responsible for selling St. Louis City and St. Louis County as a convention and meeting site and as a leisure travel destination. More than 700 businesses local and regional are members of the CVC. For more information, visit:

# # #