More than 250 tourism, hospitality, and meeting and event-related organizations and businesses have signed on to a new Choose Chicago initiative to accelerate and spur the city’s tourism industry post-coronavirus and help expedite its economic recovery.
The initiative—Tourism & Hospitality Forward—was announced yesterday at Choose Chicago’s annual meeting. It pledges alignment, collaboration and socially responsible tourism and hospitality that will instill confidence in residents and visitors as they return to the city.
“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 in order to restore this economic driver for the city,” said Glenn Eden, chair of the Choose Chicago Board of Directors. “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.”
Like their counterparts around the world, Chicago’s tourism, hospitality, meetings, and events industries were amongst the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the city transitions through a phased reopening, this new alliance of industry partners will work together to establish best practices and safety measures for the health and safety of residents and visitors when cultural institutions, hotels, attractions and restaurants return to regular business.
The four components of the pledge are:
Socially Responsible Planning: Members will put the safety of patrons and employees first by adhering to public health guidance and direction and becoming leaders in socially-responsible tourism and hospitality.
Dedicated and Strategic Engagement: Members will recognize the importance of taking a strategic and collaborative approach by dedicating the time to align across sectors and develop the phased plans needed to thrive in this challenging environment.
Authentic and Inclusive Excellence: Members will work together to spur the traffic of Chicago visitors and guests by enhancing efforts to create unique ways to leverage all of the city’s dynamic neighbourhoods and authentic assets.
Unparalleled Chicago Advocacy: Members will 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.
In addition, Tourism & Hospitality Forward announced an outreach and engagement framework that participants can leverage to bring visitors back to Chicago when the time is right. It includes reinforcing that Chicago will continue to be the best place to do business as the city competes for meetings and events.
“The traditional visitor and convention delegate will remain our ultimate goal in the recovery process,” said David Whitaker, president and CEO of Choose Chicago. “In the early phases of reopening we are going to have to focus and rely on our local residents, nearby suburban and regional visitors and the drive market as a whole. While they will be the first to easily return to their favourite spots and activities, they can also be ambassadors as we welcome guests and visitors back to Chicago.”