Chicago Tourism Bureau Aims For More Visitors With $6M Campaign

06/28/2011 04:40 pm ET | Updated Aug 28, 2011

The Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau is hoping to attract more visitors to the Windy City with a new, $6 million campaign: "Chicago, Second to None."

Several overseas tourism sales offices will be reopened, and the bureau will focus on recruiting sports events to the city and revamping its website, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The campaign was funded through the now-doubled tax rates for taxis and buses serving Chicago airports.

As Crain's Chicago Business noted, the campaign announcement comes at a critical moment for the city's tourism and convention industries alike. Last week, a federal judge, citing labor law violations, halted new cost-cutting measures the city had imposed last year to make convention venues like the McCormick Place more attractive to event organizers.

On the tourism side, Governor Pat Quinn announced last week that, while the state of Illinois overall saw a five percent, $2.2 billion increase in tourism revenue, the total number of Chicago visitors was down slightly (1 percent) in 2010 compared to the previous year and markedly (14 percent) when compared to 2008 numbers.

But the tourism board still appears undeterred as it looks to open offices in the United Kingdom, Germany and Ireland and launch improvements of its website,, beginning in November.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was due to speak alongside Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) about the importance of tourism for the city Tuesday.

Emanuel is also likely to mention the McCormick Place's latest client: Allscripts, the electronic health records company. Early Tuesday, Emanuel announced the company would, in addition to increasing their Chicago workforce by some 300 employees, be holding its annual users conference at the McCormick Place, beginning in 2012, through 2014. The conference is expected to attract some 5,000 visitors annually.

According to the tourism bureau, visitors to Chicago spent an estimated $11.1 billion and generated $616 million in tax revenue in 2010.

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