Choose Chicago has unveiled Tourism & Hospitality Forward, a new initiative to spur Chicago’s tourism industry post-coronavirus 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 committed to focus on alignment, collaboration and socially responsible tourism and hospitality that will instill confidence in visitors as they return to Chicago.
Glenn Eden, chair of the Choose Chicago Board of Directors, commented: “This current crisis has been simply devastating to so many, including the tourism and hospitality industry, and we recognize that these unprecedented challenges require unprecedented and swift actions.”
Eden said that: “Our first priority is to promote socially responsible tourism. We will demonstrate to our guests that through the operational changes and precautions taken, it is safe to enjoy Chicago again.”
As the city transitions through a phased reopening, this 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.
Chicago’s mayor, Lori E. Lightfoot observed: “I applaud Choose Chicago’s commitment to developing safe, collaborative solutions to the profound impact COVID-19 has had on our city’s vital tourism and hospitality industry.”
Mayor Lightfoot continued: “Despite the challenges we face, the strength of our recovery is being built on forward-looking partnerships like these which are mutually supportive and rooted in the data of this disease, allowing us to build and grow more resilient, inclusive, and powerful than we’ve ever been.”
Chicago’s Tourism & Hospitality Forward pledge has four components:
- 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 neighbourhoods 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.
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 neighbourhoods.
Said Eden: “These groups began meeting to focus on initial and almost immediate reopening strategies. They have now evolved and been rolled up to collaborate with, and support, Mayor Lightfoot’s longer-term Reopening and Recovery Task Force, including marketing and economic development for the city as a whole.”
David Whitaker, president & CEO of Choose Chicago, noted that: “In the early phases of reopening, we will of course focus on our local residents, nearby suburban and regional visitors as well as the drive market as a whole. While they will be the first to return to their favourite spots and activities, they will also be our ambassadors as we welcome guests and visitors back to Chicago.”