Chicago to Open Tourism Offices in Brazil, Japan, Germany

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According to CBS Local, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced this Thursday that the city is planning on boosting tourism by expanding its tourism offices to three new countries. In the plan, the mayor said that he wants to see the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau open new offices in Brazil, Japan, and Germany later this year, all of which will hopefully bring in 50 million additional visitors to the Windy City each year. Similarly, the Mayor Emanuel wants to push Chicago to the list of the top five U.S. cities with the most international visitors each year.

Here are some facts about tourism in Chicago and other efforts the city is making to boost this industry:

* The Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture reported that in 2010, over 39.9 million people visited Chicago and the most inbound international travelers came from Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany, and Japan respectively.

* International tourism to the Windy City contributed $1.3 billion, or roughly 11.8 percent, to the local economy in 2010 and $1.27 billion, or about 12.5 percent, in 2009.

* The Associated Press added that by increasing tourism by 50 million visitors each year, the mayor's office hopes to increase Chicago's revenue by $4 billion annually.

* In late March, the Chicago Tribune noted that the city's tourism office and the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau would be merging their operations and rebranding itself under the new name "Choose Chicago."

* Last June, in a $6 million tourism campaign, the city changed its "Second City" slogan to "Chicago: Second to None," according to another CBS Local article.

* Not only are operations of the two departments going to be merged, by Mayor Emanuel noted that the merger will also save the city $1.3 million in administrative costs.

* The campaign highlighted Chicago's top restaurants and emphasized its number one rankings, including its museums and other attractions across the city.

* The name change came as part of the city's efforts to rebuild Chicago's tourism economy and establish visitor numbers to pre-recession levels while expanding tourist opportunities.

* The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the city moved forward with a tax hike nightly hotel stays, a move that the city's tourism bureau reluctantly stood behind as the city planned to use the revenue from the tax to fund its tourism campaign and annual events like the Taste of Chicago.

* McCormick Place will also see a boost in campaigning as funded by the tax hike, which amounts to about $1.78 cents per night.

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.

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