CHICAGO – The city’s tourism arm is receiving a $5.5 million raise from the federal government to get more people to visit Chicago neighborhoods, with much of the effort focused on the south and west sides.
Funding for Choose Chicago comes from the American Rescue Act, The provision signed by President Joe Biden to provide relief to individuals and businesses who have faced setbacks during the pandemic.
The money will help Choose Chicago invest in marketing to “position Chicago and its neighborhoods as prime destinations for both residents and visitors,” according to the press release.
The influx will double funding for neighborhood tourism marketing, according to a press release. Choose Chicago, which is supported by local hotel taxes, has seen its budget plummet during the pandemic, according to Crain.
Twelve new neighborhoods, mostly on the south and west sides, will be added to the city’s tourism efforts. I’m:
- Auburn Gresham
- Back of the yards
- Lincoln Park
- Lincoln Square
- New city
- North Center
- North Lawndale
- South Chicago
- Hyde Park
The funding will support local content creators, cleanup efforts, professional photo shoots for small businesses, tour operator training, digital ads and wayfinding signs through neighborhoods, according to the press release.
The tourism agency has held 20 meetings over the past year to ask community members about ways to best promote their neighborhoods. Officials now plan to host more forums with the additional funding.
“Tourism brings economic benefits, but it needs to be community-driven so it doesn’t lead to gentrification and displacement,” said Isaac Reichman, a spokesperson for Choose Chicago. “Our goal with this money is to make sure our tourism marketing efforts have a very strong focus on the neighborhood.”
You can find promotional materials for Choose Chicago neighborhoods here.
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