The Choose Chicago campaign, meant to attract visitors by rebranding Chicago, will lose 40 percent of its operating budget due to state budget woes. Its latest campaign, Epic, which was just launched in April, will now end two months early. According to Crain's, losing that promotional push may mean a loss of $7.2 million from state hotel tax revenue, and $12 million in state funding. Ouch.
This cut will make it hard for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to meet his stated goal of bringing 55 million visitors to the city annually by 2020. We're at just over 50 million now. While overall tourism increased by 3.5 percent last year, the city's international popularity has fallen, one of three destinations in the top 20 top cities which has seen a drop. The city tourism bureau may attempt to pool marketing dollars with the Illinois tourism office, but the state's destination funding is in limbo as well.
· City halts 'Epic' tourism campaign under budget pressure [Crain's]
· Choose Chicago Launches "Epic" Tourism Campaign [NBC]
· All Chicago tourism coverage [Curbed Chicago]