Sweet home Chicago is about to get even sweeter. Some interesting news has come down the wire in recent days related to our industry.
First, get ready to bid adieu to the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture (COTC). Beginning July 1, the operation will split into two initiatives: The cultural programs managed by the long-running department will move to the jurisdiction of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) while the tourism functions will be under the guidance of Choose Chicago, formerly the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau.
The transition will help further Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s goal of attracting 50 million visitors by 2020, and COTC has surely helped the city down this path thanks to 20 years of service that has provided Chicago with a thriving $11.1 billion tourism industry that attracts an annual 42 million visitors.
Also announced just this last week was a critical union agreement between labor unions at McCormick Place and Navy Pier, making Chicago a more competitive and attractive destination for tradeshows and conventions.
The historic agreement is between McCormick Place, Navy Pier, MPEA, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 134, and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 2, ending a longstanding contention between IATSE and IBEW. The agreement is significant because it helps align the facilities’ business models with other tradeshow and convention facilities; allows show managers to use a wider group of contractors to provide services for performance and production areas; creates additional savings for show management; allows McCormick Place to compete more aggressively for corporate and association convention business; and allows for additional bookings for shows that benefit from these changes, which will create additional work for both unions.
Lastly, with the Taste of Chicago on the horizon July 11-15, DCASE has announced that they have chosen the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) to manage the Taste along with the Blues and Jazz Festivals. IRA’s responsibilities will be training restaurant vendors, certifying and licensing food vendors, procuring equipment and overseeing beverage and ticket operations. IRA will also oversee the restaurant selection process for the festival.
Now that’s news you can use. Happy planning!
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