Get the Inside Story on What New Attractions May Be Coming to Town.
CHICAGO, Tuesday, February 19, 2013. Hoping that visitors may leave their hearts in San Francisco but their money in Chicago, a group of Chicago tourism officials and civic supporters put their collective heads together Monday to brainstorm some ideas to pretty-up the city's image, add jobs and boost tourism numbers.
The aim is to increase visitor numbers from the nearly 44 million in 2011 to 70 million annually. Committee chair, Bruce Rauner instructed his committee members to "be aspirational and aggressive, not just incremental" in putting together their list of ideas.
With help from the Bos-ton Consulting Group along with the promise of $30 billion in private backing, the committee got to work. In addition to Chairman Rauner the group included: hotel investor Laurence Geller, Broadway in Chicago President Lou Raizin, Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, Choose Chicago CEO Don Welsh, city cultural affairs leader Michelle Boone and Jim Reilly, CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.
The initial session resulted in the tourism planning group selecting 18 ideas, based upon popular attractions around the world, to consider implementing in the Windy City--"eight or so" of the ideas are on the fast track for implementation, according to Rauner. Here is a sampling of the committee's proposals:
The initial plan calls for glass-bubble airborne cable cars — with air conditioning in summer and heat in winter — that would take visitors along the river from Navy Pier to where Wacker Drive turns south.
Bright lights and light show-type illuminations of city buildings and structures.
First Class CTA Club Cars.
Tourism “carriages” on the CTA between downtown and O’Hare International Airport, would offer visitors a "club car" type experience where they could get drinks and help with their luggage, along with other amenities.
A Casino and Entertainment Complex.
A luxury casino-anchored entertainment complex, similar to the Marina Bay Sands, a massive $5 billion resort in Singapore designed by Moshe Safdie was proposed for Chicago--if and when the city gets approval for a downtown casino.
Lakefront Plane Rides.
A float plane port on Northerly Island (the site of the former Meigs Field), where tourists could take plane rides up and down the lakefront.
Jazz and Blues Hall of Fame.
A jazz and blues hall of fame on the Near South Side.
A Botanic Garden.
A lakefront botanic garden.
A Technology Park.
A technology park for children.
An Architecture Festival.
An architecture festival, similar to Biennale cultural festivals in Europe.
What do you think? Let us know what ideas you like or dislike and if you have any suggestions for attractions or events that you would like Show Me Chicago to pass on to Choose Chicago.
One reader suggested that having a CTA bus running along Michigan Ave. that would connect Water Tower, the Art Institute and the Museum Campus might make it easier for tourist to get to these places rather than having to take the subway.
Filed under: Chicago Tourism.