Chicago Tourism head hopes to make Chicago a destination for international-and domestic-travelers

April 9, 2012

Download Story

We Chicagoans like to maintain our friendly rivalry with New Yorkers, but "Second City"? Hardly. Chicago regularly tops the list for dining destinations, and who can forget our friendly, Midwestern charm? But, New York does have us beat in at least one category-annual visitors. According to the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, about 40 million visitors come to Chicago every year, compared to about 50 million who visit the Big Apple. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he wants Chicago's numbers to look more like that. The Mayor also has his sights set on international shores-saying he wants to open tourism offices in countries like Brazil and Germany.

The person charged with extending Chicago's welcoming reach is Don Welsh. Welsh is the President and CEO of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau. He comes to the Windy City from Indianapolis, where he was credited for expanding that city's convention center and airport. Welsh is behind Chicago's current marketing campaign that reminds business travelers that the city is "Second to None" (take that New York!), and he's led the launch of TV and Web ads targeted at potential regional visitors. TheTV commercials are airing in cities like Milwaukee, Cincinnati and St. Louis. Don Welsh joins Steve Edwards Monday on The Afternoon Shift to discuss what other plans the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau has in store to make Chicago a prime destination for travelers, (and remind foreign visitors why we're more than just pizza and gangsters!