At the Choose Chicago Annual Meeting on Thursday, the organization announced Tourism & Hospitality Forward, a new initiative to accelerate and spur Chicago’s tourism industry post-coronavirus (COVID-19) and help expedite the city’s economic recovery. To date, a coalition of more than 250 local tourism, hospitality, meeting and event-related organizations and businesses have signed on to the pledge promising alignment, collaboration and socially responsible tourism and hospitality that will instill confidence in residents and visitors as they return to Chicago.
As the city transitions through a phased reopening, the alliance of industry partners will work together to establish best practices and safety measures for the health and safety of residents and visitors alike when cultural institutions, hotels, attractions and restaurants return to regular business and welcome guests.
There are four components to the pledge:
- 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”
- Dedicated and Strategic Engagement: “We will recognize the importance of taking a strategic and collaborative approach by dedicating the time to align across sectors and develop the phased plans we need to thrive in this challenging environment”
- Authentic and Inclusive Excellence: “We will work together to spur the traffic of Chicago visitors and guests by enhancing our efforts to create unique ways to leverage all of the city’s dynamic neighborhoods and authentic assets”
- Unparalleled Chicago Advocacy: “We advocate for all that Chicago has to offer by cross-promoting offerings and collaborating on shared offers to create a mutually beneficial environment for the industry and ultimately a stronger economy for the city”
Additionally, the Tourism & Hospitality Forward initiative included an outreach and engagement framework that participants can leverage to bring visitors back to Chicago when the time is right. The framework includes:
- Promoting Chicago’s reopening in a calibrated manner with programs and promotions, such as staycations, designed to engage local audiences
- Launching seasonal initiatives to bring leisure travelers to Chicago with an emphasis on neighboring states
- Reinforcing that Chicago will continue to be the best place to do business as the city competes for meetings and events
- Maximizing all Chicago has to offer through a unifying marketing campaign
Planning has been underway with several working groups aligned by sector, including accommodations, museums and attractions, arts and culture, festivals, and special events, including sports and a dedicated focus on unique and diverse neighborhoods.