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CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to open new Chicago tourism offices in three new countries this year, and hopes to have 50 million tourists coming every year by 2020.
The mayor told the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau Thursday that he wants to see new Chicago tourism offices in Brazil, Germany and Japan later this year. A news release did not specify which cities would get the offices.
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Chicago-centric tourism offices opened last year in London, and last month in Mexico City and Toronto.
“Chicago is a global city with worldwide appeal, and I am committed to ensuring that people around the world have a chance to experience our magnificent city firsthand,” Mayor Emanuel said in a news release. “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.”
Earlier this year, the city combined its tourism efforts into one organization, called Choose Chicago. Previously, the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau and the Chicago Office of Tourism had operated separately.
The combined office will save $2 million a year, which can be directed toward attracting visitors to the city, the Mayor’s office said. In particular, the Mayor’s office wants to see more overseas visitors, who spend an average of $4,000 per trip.
The mayor has set up a goal for the city to attract 50 million visitors every year by 2020, and rank in the top five cities nationally for volume of international visitors. Currently, despite being the nation’s third largest city, Chicago comes in at No. 10 among tourist destinations.
Emanuel also announced that Chicago will host the U.S. Travel Association International Pow Wow in 2014. The convention is considered the leading marketplace for the travel industry, and it has not been held in Chicago since 1998.