Tourism Bureau Creates New TV Ads To Draw Travelers To Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — As much as we might dream of a weekend escape from Chicago, a lot of people could be planning a weekend escape to the Windy City.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports tourism numbers have dropped in past years, so a big-effort is being aimed at boosting them.

Tourism generated $600 million in tax revenue last year, but in tough times it needs to be higher. Thursday night, members from the city’s restaurant and entertainment industry were learning about an effort to do just that.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman Reports

Michigan Avenue’s world class shopping is only part of what draws weekend visitors Howard and Stacy Wallach here from Detroit.

“We like to shop, we like to see shows – we saw a show last night – go to Second City, see some great restaurants,” Stacy Wallach said.

But, since the economy took a dive, the number of leisure visitors checking into the city’s hotels and spending money around town has dropped dramatically – from 33 million in 2007 to just over 28 million last year.

In a glitzy new ad campaign, the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau was hoping to draw more casual tourists from cities within 300 miles to Chicago.

“You look at what we have – we need to speak more confidently and boldly and more proactively to drive increased visitation,” Tourism Bureau marketing executive Warren Wilkinson said.

It sounds hard to believe, but the new ad is the first-ever televised and online tourism ad campaign for Chicago. The CCTB hopes it will generate $50 in revenue for the city for each of the $1.8 million it cost to produce and distribute – for a total of $90 million.

“I think that’s actually a very conservative number,” Wilkinson said. “We’re inside 300 miles … it’s a drive purchase … Chicago has the assets, has the attraction.”

Similar campaigns for neighboring destinations like Michigan have paid off big and those running hotels know, unlike convention travelers, leisure tourists can spend more money when they travel.

Fred Khoury, general manager of the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, said, “The leisure traveler, I mean, for them this is a hotel. They want a great rate to be able to stay here, but then the rest of the time, they want to be out and about.”

The bottom line is that convention travelers and leisure travelers are two different beasts. Money spent during a convention here won’t be pumped into the local market for years. Efforts targeting leisure travelers hopefully pay off within a 12-month period.

  • pippyb

    Embarrassing down-staters… hide in your little bubble and picket soldiers’ funerals

    • Jim Hamilton

      You simple fck I am a vet and no I don’t picket funerals

      But when a place has more murder per capita than any other city and takes away my Rights as a US Citizen Hell no I won’t go!

      Chicago is the armpit of the Universe and obviously I’m not the only one who feels this way look at your tourism numbers and furthermore who wants to be around azzholes like you

  • Jim Hamilton

    Like hell take my family to Chicago for family fun. Getting them all killed in a drive up like so many others I read about doesn’t sound like fun to me oh yeah and in Chicago the criminals carry guns but I can’t hahaha NO THANK YOU CHICAGO!
    Chicago is turning into one huge cesspool of criminals, put a fence around it and take away their right to vote.
    By the way.
    Hi there Chicago it’s me from down state illinois. Hows the anti gun laws working out for ya. When will you idiots up there wake up and see your anti carry laws only dis arm the law abiding guys and keep the bad guys with their guns safer?
    Rahm is more worried about getting those cameras to work so he can catch you hurrying home from the restaurants to use the bathroom than to clean up the cesspool. Why aren’t those cameras watching the neighborhood instead of working people running behind to get to works license plates. Running behind because of the big potholes in the road lord knows they have created more danger than going 5 mile an hour over has.

    One thing you can be sure of is the criminals are armed and they are looking for any target of opportunity. They are looking for you!

    Support HB 148 Your Right To Carry, The crooks are already armed and you are the target!

  • Jim Hamilton

    One thing you can be sure of is the criminals are armed and they are looking for any target of opportunity. They are looking for you!

    Support HB 148 Your Right To Carry, The crooks are already armed and you are the target!

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