September 14, 2016

CONTACT: Melanie Perez

Choose Chicago President & CEO, David Whitaker, announced the appointments of industry executives Michelle Revuelta as Vice President of Media Relations effective September 7th and Brian Said to the position of Vice President of Global Development effective September 26th.

Revuelta will build and lead Choose Chicago's media relations team and leverage her two decades of experience to increase visibility to media outlets worldwide for Chicago and its partner base. Revuelta most recently served as Director of Media Relations for Tourism Toronto for the past nine years. Said has an extensive background spanning 20 years in destination marketing and the hospitality industry. He comes to Choose Chicago by way of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau where he has been the Executive Director of the Tourism Division for more than three years. Both Revuelta and Said will report directly to Choose Chicago President & CEO, David Whitaker.

"I could not be more pleased that Michelle Revuelta and Brian Said have accepted our invitation to join Choose Chicago's senior leadership team," David Whitaker President & CEO of Choose Chicago said. "Both these roles are incredibly instrumental as we build upon our commitment to expanding Chicago's growth on the global stage. Their combined experience and expertise in destination marketing will serve us well as we look to attract more international visitors."

During Revuelta's time with Tourism Toronto, she led the organization's media relations efforts to promote a leading international destination and generated more than $49 million in media coverage and exposure annually for Toronto. Revuelta and her team hosted more than 550 visiting members of the media annually. Prior to her role with Tourism Toronto, Revuelta was with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau for ten years where she last held the position of Associate Vice President of Media Relations. During this time, she and her team also helped shape the emerging brand and image internationally of another leading destination.

"I'm truly excited about the tremendous potential to raise Chicago's profile as a top travel destination and the media opportunities that have yet to be seized for this world-class destination," Michelle Revuelta, Vice President of Media Relations for Choose Chicago said.

Choose Chicago's newly named Global Development team, formerly called Tourism Sales, will continue its mandate to increase visitation to Chicago through leisure travel from international markets under the leadership of Said. Said built robust global programs for Philadelphia in both traditional and emerging markets during his tenure resulting in significant increases in international overnight stays. Prior to landing in Philadelphia, Said served as Director of Travel Trade Development for the San Diego Tourism Authority for over six years. In San Diego, sales efforts with select receptive tour operators grew rapidly which generated over 1.5 million room-nights annually.

"I'm honored to have the opportunity to represent Chicago and to strategize with the team on re-entering international markets with the highest growth potential for the city and our partners," Brian Said, Vice President of Global Development for Choose Chicago said.

Choose Chicago seeks to enhance Chicago's position as a global destination in an effort to achieve Mayor Rahm Emanuel's goal of being one of the five leading U.S. destinations selected by international visitors and surpassing 55 million visitors annually. International publicity, promotions, and global development programs are vital areas to reaching that goal.

Chicago saw record visitation in 2015 with more than 52 million visitors. Since 2010, Chicago's tourism industry has added more than 15,000 jobs, including an estimated 3,800 new jobs in 2015, now totaling over 140,000 Chicagoans serving our visitors annually. Tourism to Chicago in 2015 generated $935.9 million in total tax revenue, $2.2 billion in revenue for Chicago's hotels and $124.1 million in hotel tax revenue.

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About Choose Chicago: Choose Chicago is the official destination marketing organization for Chicago, Illinois. Our mission is to bring regional, national and international business and leisure visitors to Chicago for the economic benefit of the City, the community and our membership.