Chicago's reach just got bigger.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Thursday the opening of new Chicago tourism offices in Brazil, Germany and Japan to help spread Chicago’s presence in an effort to draw more tourists to the city.
“I am dedicated to dramatically increasing the number of visitors to Chicago and fostering economic development and job growth throughout the city as a result of these efforts,” Emanuel said in a statement.
Emanuel's goal is a big one. He hopes to attract 50 million visitors by the year 2020 and to snag Chicago a spot in the top five nationally ranked cities for international visitors (Chicago is currently the tenth).
Chicago’s tourism efforts also will be focused into one organization, called Choose Chicago. The move allows the city to save nearly $2 million a year in resources, Emanuel said.
“Chicago’s continued expansion of international offices will bring the necessary forces to bear to reach Mayor Emanuel’s ambitious goal,” said Don Welsh, President and CEO of Choose Chicago.
A Chicago tourism office was opened in London last year and two others in Mexico City and Toronto were opened in March. The offices in Brazil, Germany, and Japan are scheduled to open later this year, spreading Chicago’s presence to four continents.
Emanuel also announced that Chicago will host the U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow in 2014, the first time since 1998. Pow Wow remains the travel industry’s largest generator of travel to the U.S., allowing for more than $3.5 billion worth of travel to be planned.
The event is a three-day session of business appointments featuring more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations.