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U.S. Commercial Service

Promotion of Chicago/Illinois as an International Tourism Destination

Overview - April 2012

Media Placements:

The U.S. Commercial Service – Chicago (CS Chicago) has coordinated with Chicago Office of Tourism, Illinois Bureau of Tourism (IBT), CCTB, & Commercial Service offices around the world in placing articles that highlight the many attractions of Chicago/Illinois in various international media. CS Chicago has gathered content and photos for direct placement, as well as introduced visiting international journalists to Communications staff at the Chicago Office of Tourism. This is all done at no cost to Chicago/Illinois.

Examples include the following:

  • Australia: January 2012 article published in Sydney Morning Herald, entitled “First Stop Is Second City”.
  • Panama: 12-page article on Chicago with photos in "Panorama de las Americas," the official magazine for COPA Airlines. Published in Sept 2011, the article equates to USD$ 79,240.14 in advertising equivalency.
  • Philippines: Article entitled "No Little Plans: Architecture in Chicago" appeared in two installments -- in the October and November 2009 issues of Architectscope.
  • Taiwan: Illinois was the featured U.S. destination in an August 2009 article in the print edition of TOPICS magazine. The article was complimented further with 8 color photos. Text and photos compile via IBT, Springfield CVB, and the IBT's Public Relations firm, JWT. The 3-page feature article titled " Drive on Historic Route in Illinois” showcased the Illinois portion of famous Route 66 and had an estimated advertising equivalency of $4,500.

Customized Matchmaking for International Outreach:

  • Worked with Commercial Service China offices to arrange meetings for IBT & CCTB to meet key contacts (China National Tourism Administration & major tour operators) to explore opening an office in China. (Nov 2008)
  • Worked with Art Institute of Chicago on meetings with media and tour operators in Germany and the United Kingdom to promote the opening of the new Modern Wing. (October 2008)

International Business Travel to Chicago Trade Shows:

The U.S. Commercial Service International Buyer Program (IBP) recruits thousands of qualified foreign buyers, sales representatives, and business partners to U.S. trade shows each year, giving show exhibitors excellent opportunities to expand business globally. IBP trade shows are promoted around the world and CS Trade Specialists recruit and lead buyer delegations to approximately 35 IBP trade shows per year. Show organizers can apply to be part of the program, and shows are selected based on potential for U.S. export sales. Chicago shows that are part of the IBP program in 2012 include the Home & Housewares Show, NRA, Graph Expo and Pack Expo.

International Travel & Tourism Shows:

The Commercial Service maintains a presence, often in the form of organizing a U.S. Pavilion, at a number of major international tourism shows such as ITB in Berlin and WTM in London, not to mention Pow Wow in the U.S. At all these shows, CS staff work to facilitate connections between U.S. industry contacts and those in their home countries, including journalists, tour operators, airlines, etc. Many tourism Commercial Specialists are members of the Visit USA Committees in their home countries, and some have even been instrumental in the formation of new Visit USA Committees.

Special Projects:

Chicago Week in Croatia – October 2011: CS Chicago worked on this unique program at the request of State Department colleagues at the U.S. embassy in Zagreb.

  • Secured brochures/literature from 25 different Chicago attractions, universities, and companies (including Chicago Office of Tourism) for display at Chicago Week venue.
  • Suggested possible speakers for the forum, from which they chose to invite the Chair of Chicago Design Matters, to highlight Chicago’s architecture and urban planning expertise.