Government has historically had a leading role in creating the civic assets that have made Chicago a tourist destination. This government role also involved significant public money, which has been justified given the positive revenue tourism generated for Chicago.
The reality is that government will not always be in a position to play a leading role in creating the civic assets and experiences that promote tourism in the years ahead. The financial and political constraints on government’s role in this regard are obvious. As government’s role recedes, one of two courses will result. Either Chicago will fall behind other cities as a tourist destination and lose the financial, cultural and reputational benefits that come from tourism. Or – and this is the course we are advocating for – a new model for tourism, led by Chicago’s civic and business communities, will emerge.
Think about Millennium Park, which was incredibly controversial when planning began in 1997. Remember the criticisms? • Government was going to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on a park. • Corporations and other private funders were going to put their logos all over the park and be invited to special parties.
Now think of how Millennium Park turned out. Where are the critics today? Think about the neighborhoods that were developed or enhanced by Millennium Park - River East, the East Loop, South Loop and Museum Campus. Chicago would not be what it is today without Millennium Park. And here’s a key point – Millennium Park is not just for tourists. It’s for us – for Chicagoans.
• To better inform the world about what the city has to offer. • To build tourism igniters that will be seen around the world, elevating Chicago in a worldwide conversation. • To think big, bold and iconic when investing in attractions and festivals. • To create economic development, standard of living enhancements and employment opportunities in communities throughout the city.
AECOM Billings Jackson Boston Consulting Group Civic Consulting Alliance Davis Brody Bond Deutsche Bank DMA Associates ELPC Gensler Hillard Heintze JACOBS UK/Chicago JAHN Katten Muchin Rosenman Leitner-Poma Loop Capital Marks Barfield Perkins Coie RTKL SOM Walsh