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Tourism & Hospitality Forward

Tourism & Hospitality Forward

Our purpose

Our fight against the spread of COVID-19 has been both measured and holistic. Chicago’s reopening will need to be equally as holistic and measured. Working to support the City’s overall recovery efforts, Choose Chicago is aligning businesses, organizations and institutions within Chicago’s tourism and hospitality industry to help accelerate the economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19.

Our strategy is called Tourism and Hospitality Forward. In both name and approach, its aim is to engage partners, businesses and institutions across the city to ensure recovery is equitable across Chicago’s neighborhoods.

We look forward to working with our partners to open the city safely when the time is right. Learn more about our plan and socially responsible tourism in the Chicago Sun-Times.

2020 Tourism and Hospitality Forward Anthem Video

Join us

Interested in joining the Tourism and Hospitality Forward pledge? We are confident that our collective efforts are the key to positioning and preparing Chicago to reopen its doors to residents and visitors. Visit our survey to sign you and your company up to join this effort.

Sign up today!

If you have any questions, please direct them to

Partnering with the City of Chicago

Tourism and Hospitality Forward collaborates with and supports Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s longer-term Reopening and Recovery Task Force that is focused on broader economic recovery planning to reinvigorate Chicago’s economy post-pandemic.

Our partnership and collaboration with the City is an integral component to our strategy as we collectively navigate the reopening process and new normal for industries across Chicago. As we continue planning and executing on our Tourism and Hospitality Forward strategy, we are focused on upholding the Mayor’s economic development commitments to drive inclusive, transformative growth by leveraging the inherent qualities and strength of Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Our partners

The work we are doing would not be possible without our valued partners. We’d like to thank and recognize the following partners who have signed the pledge for their continued collaboration and participation.

10pin Bowling Lounge
21c Museum Hotel Chicago
360 CHICAGO Observation Deck
360 Destination Group
3rd Gen Painting and Remodeling Western Springs IL
Absolute Production Services
AC Hotel Chicago Downtown
All Events Transportion
Aloft Chicago Downtown River North
Aloft Chicago Mag Mile
American Airlines
American College of Surgeons
American Writers Museum
Around Chicago Events, LLC
Association Forum
Audio Visual Productions, Inc.
Auditorium Theatre
Bannerville USA
Bar Takito Latin Experience
Best Western Grant Park
Best Western Plus Hawthorne Terrace
Best Western River North Hotel
Big Bus Tours Chicago
BlackOak Technical Productions
Blue Man Group
Blue Plate
Bobby’s Bike Hike – Chicago Tours
Bowery & Bash
Broadway In Chicago
Casati’s Modern Italian Lincoln Park
Caught in the Moment Photography
Cebu Chicago
Chicago Architecture Center
Chicago Athletic Association
Chicago Beer Experience Beer Tours
Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Bulls
Chicago Children’s Museum
Chicago Classic Coach
Chicago Collections Consortium
Chicago Detours
Chicago Fire FC
Chicago History Museum
Chicago Loop Alliance
Chicago Pizza Tours
Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Chicago Tour-Guide Professionals Assn. (CTPA)
Chicago Zoological Society | Brookfield Zoo
Chicago’s North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau
Chicagos First Lady Cruises
Choose Chicago
City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection
City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
City Winery Chicago
Claridge House Hotel
Complete Crewing
Conrad Chicago
Course Hero
Courtney White Event Production
CSz Theater Chicago
CTM Media Group
Custom Specialty Promotions
Datasis Corporation
Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
DePaul School of Hospitality Leadership
Design Museum of Chicago
DoubleTree Chicago Magnificent Mile
DoubleTree Chicago North Shore
DuSable Museum of African American History
e3 Photography / Fraiberg +Hollander
EDLEN Chicago – The Power People
Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown and Hilton Garden Inn Mag Mile
Epiphany Center for the Arts
Escape Artistry
Fairfield Inn Marriott Mag Mile
Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park
Ferdia Doherty Founding Partner
Flight Club Chicago
Flower Show Productions
Gage Hospitality Group
Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance
Glessner House
GO Airport Express
Gravel Experiential
Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago – Downtown
Hampton Inn Chicago-O’Hare International Airport
Hawthorne Strategy Group
Heron Agency
Hilton Chicago
Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport
Hilton’s of Chicago
Hiltons at McCormick Place
Home2 Suites by Hilton Chicago River North
Hornblower Cruises and Events
Hostelling International Chicago
Hotel Chicago, Autograph Collection
Hotel EMC2
Hotel Julian Chicago
Hotel Lincoln
Hotel Versey
Hyatt House Chicago/West Loop-Fulton Market
Hyatt Place Chicago-South / University Medical Center
Hyatt Regency Chicago
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place
IBEW Local 134
Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association
Illinois Restaurant Association
Illinois State Representative Stephanie Kifowit District Office
Improovy Painters Chicago
Inside Chicago Walking Tours
Inspired Catering & Events by Karen & Gina Stefani
Institute of Food Technologists
International Museum of Surgical Science
Isabelli Partners
Isla Filipino
Jam Productions
Jennifer Devermann
John Folks
Kehoe Designs
Kelly Wisecarver
KEY – This Week in Chicago
Kimpton Gray HotelKimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago
Kimpton Hotel Palomar Chicago
L Stop Tours
Labor Boss
Ladidadi XM
League of Chicago Theatres
Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce
Little Village Chamber of Commerce
Lyric Opera of Chicago
Maggie Daley Park
MC&A Destination Management
McKinsey & Company
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
Mena Tours & Travel
Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority
Midway Broadcasting Corporation | WVON, WRLL
Miles Partnership, Choose Chicago’s official advertising partner
Millennium Garages
Molly’s Cupcakes West Loop
Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio
Museum of Science and Industry
Navy Pier
Nuns4Fun Entertainment
Omni Chicago Hotel
One World Transport
Page One Public Relations
Paramount Events
Piccolo Sogno
PRA Chicago
Prime Electrical & Exhibition Services
Public Communications Inc. (PCI)
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago
Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel
Renaissance Chicago O’Hare Suites
Robert’s Pizza and Dough Company
Rogers Park Business Alliance
Roosevelt University School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
SafeHouse Chicago
Shedd Aquarium
Sheraton Grand Chicago
Shoreline Sightseeing
Show Strategy, Inc.
Sidetrack Bar
Skydeck Chicago
SNAPSHYFT Labor Marketplace
Sodexo Shedd Aquarium
Soldier Field
Sophia’s Cleaning Service
SOPHY Hyde Park
St. Jane Hotel
Stephanie Leese Emrich
Summit Chicago
Swissôtel Chicago
TAO Chicago
TeaPotBrew Bakery
Teatro ZinZanni
Terminal Getaway Spa
Terra and Vine Restaurant
The Allegro Royal Sonesta Hotel Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago
The Chicago Theatre
The Drake, A Hilton Hotel
The Field Museum
The Guesthouse Hotel
The Lakewood
The Langham, Chicago
The Nap Lounge Illinois, Inc.
The Peninsula Chicago
The Penthouse at Grand Plaza
The Revel Group
The Shops at North Bridge
The St. Clair Hotel Magnificent Mile
The Talbott
The Westin Chicago Northwest
The Whitehall Hotel
Theater on the Lake
Thompson Chicago
Tortoise Supper Club
Total Event Resources
Tour Through A Lens
United Airlines
United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Local 10
United Service Companies
United Steelworkers Local 17 Decorators
Waldorf Astoria Chicago
Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago
WCF Events
Weber Shandwick
West Side United
Westin River North
Wicker Park Inn
World Business Chicago

Our pledge

Our Tourism and Hospitality Forward strategy is embodied by four commitments that we hope will catalyze an industry-focused, citywide economic recovery effort that organizations can bolt onto and benefit from. By taking the Tourism and Hospitality Forward pledge, your company is dedicating itself to the following commitments:

  1. SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE PLANNING: We will put the safety of our patrons and employees first by adhering to public health guidance and direction and become leaders in socially responsible tourism and hospitality.
  2. DEDICATED AND STRATEGIC ENGAGEMENT: We will recognize the importance of taking a strategic and collaborative approach by dedicating the time to work together and develop the phased plans we need to thrive in this challenging environment.
  3. AUTHENTIC AND INCLUSIVE EXCELLENCE: We will work together to spur the traffic of Chicago visitors and guests by enhancing our efforts to create unique and novel ways to leverage all of the city’s dynamic neighborhoods and authentic assets.
  4. UNPARALLELED CHICAGO ADVOCACY: We will act as engaged advocates for all that Chicago has to offer by cross-promoting one another’s offerings and collaborating on shared offers to create a mutually beneficial environment for the industry.

Socially responsible tourism & hospitality

Included in our core pledge commitments, we stress the importance of taking greater steps to incorporate socially responsible planning into our reopening strategies and positioning ourselves as leaders in socially responsible tourism as we look to the future.

Tourism and Hospitality Forward is actively identifying ways that we can continue to be a resource to our partners as they adjust their individual reopening plans. We will be providing guidance on reopening guidelines, suggested changes in business practices and are kicking off a webinar series that will speak to ways partners are maintaining socially responsible practices while managing their reopening process.

Get involved

Looking for guidance and ways that you can adjust your current business practices to ensure that you are socially responsible in your reopening plans? Visit our survey to sign you and your company up to join this effort and receive information on our upcoming webinar series.

Sign up today!

If you have any questions, please direct them to

Promoting Chicago –
a framework for when the timing is right

When the time comes to begin promoting Chicago’s robust offerings and reopening tourism and hospitality businesses and attractions, we want to be ready. We know our partners are working diligently to do what they can to prepare for reopening, and we have been doing the same.

We have a framework for promoting Chicago in place that addresses the realities and unknowns of today. We have kept in mind, while developing this framework, that we must be flexible, responsible and nimble. Highlighted below are the four key sections of our marketing framework that will help us promote the phased reopening of our industry.

  1. Carefully calibrate our ability to promote Chicago’s reopening
    Goal: Drive local engagement
  2. Launch seasonal initiatives
    Goal: Drive leisure travelers
  3. Reinforce Chicago will continue to be the best place to do business
    Goal: Drive meetings and events
  4. Leverage all Chicago has to offer
    Goal: Flexible marketing campaign that allows us to be opportunistic


We are excited to share that we will be providing our partners with exclusive webinars and event opportunities on a variety of topics as we navigate reopening and recovery.

Tourism & Hospitality Forward: Major Convention Outlook

September 14, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. Central Time
Join David Whitaker, President & CEO, of Choose Chicago as we explore how to move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic. This panel discussion will feature Glenn Eden, Board Chair of Choose Chicago, David Causton, General Manager of McCormick Place, and Mark Anderson, Choose Chicago COO who will discuss challenges and opportunities to resume hosting major conventions, meetings, and events.
Register now

David Whitaker
Choose Chicago

President & CEO

Glenn Eden
Choose Chicago

Board Chair

Marc Anderson
Choose Chicago

Chief Operating Officer

David Causton
McCormick Place

General Manager & Regional Vice President
Previous webinar recordings
The People Imperative: Putting Employees First Through Reopening and Beyond
As part of the Tourism & Hospitality Forward initiative, join Choose Chicago and a panel of subject matter experts as we focus on considerations, preparations, messaging, and human resources and employment law applications to support our teams and their physical and emotional needs as they return full-time or part-time to the workspace.Host
David Whitaker – President and CEO, Choose ChicagoModerator
Michelle Mason – President and CEO, Association Forum

Geof Brown – CEO, National Association of Personal Finance
David Moore – Partner, Laner Muchin
Rachel Zakariasen – Sr. Vice President, UnitedMinds, a Weber Shandwick consultancy

Watch now

Road to Reopening: Driving (and Parking) for Confidence and Success
As Chicago continues in to Phase 4, an even greater emphasis will be placed on welcoming customers from the local, regional and key drive markets. Parking (valet and self) and the use of technology will be integral to building customer confidence and responsible solutions. Join Choose Chicago and City Tech for a panel discussion in the next in a series of Tourism and Hospitality Forward Webinars designed to enhance the visitor experience and operational efficiency.Host
Glenn Eden, Board Chair, Executive Vice President – Weber Shandwick ChicagoModerator
Michael Jacobson, Board Member, President and CEO – Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association (IHLA)

Jamie Ponce, Director, Strategic Partnerships – City Tech Collaborative

Michael Kaminski, General Manager, Hospitality – LAZ Parking
Jeff Eckerling, Chief Growth Officer – SP+
Rick West, CEO – Millenium Parking Garages
Dr. Wen Sang, CEO – Smarking

Watch now

Road to Reopening: Responsibly Welcoming Our Guests Back From A(arts) to Z(zoos): Best Practices for Museums and Attractions
This first webinar will focus on museums and attractions and feature domestic and international experts – from both institutions in markets that have already opened and several local representatives – to share their thoughts on Chicago’s opening and guest services best practices.Host
Glenn Eden, Board Chair, Executive Vice President – Weber Shandwick ChicagoModerator
Lynn Osmond, Choose Chicago Vice Chair and President – Chicago Architecture CenterPanelists
Christina Aue, Managing Director – Berlin TV Tower and Executive Director for the World Federation of Great Towers
Gary Tinterow, Director – Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Stephen Watson, President and CEO – National World War II Museum and Hotel, New Orleans
Susan Abrams, Chief Executive Officer – Illinois Holocaust Museum
Bridget Coughlin, President and Chief Executive Officer – Shedd Aquarium
Marilynn Gardner, President and CEO – Navy Pier
Carlos Tortolero, Founder and President – National Museum of Mexican Art

Watch now

Road to Reopening: Wiring for Safety and Success

Choose Chicago and City Tech have a panel discussion on how technology solutions and physical space management can achieve social distancing in large, complex, and public spaces. Panelists explore how technology, creative design, and actionable information – sharing can meet current needs as well as enhance visitors’ experience and improve operational efficiencies.

Glenn Eden, Board Chair, Executive Vice President – Weber Shandwick Chicago

Kevin Willer, Nominating Committee Chair, General Partner – Chicago Ventures

Brenna M. Berman, CEO – City Tech Collaborative

Cecelia Bolden, Chief Experience Officer – SDI Presence
Joseph Kyle, Vice President, Public Sector – Smart World, NTT, Inc.
Annie Hu, Co-Founder & CEO – Omnee
Mark Thompson, Vice President of Data, Analytics & Strategic Marketing – Navy Pier

Watch now