Chicago selects Hills Balfour to boost UK visitors

13th Sep 2011
Chicago selects Hills Balfour to boost UK visitors

The Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau (CCTB) has announced the selection of London based Hills Balfour to support the bureau’s tourism efforts in the United Kingdom. 

The firm will provide travel trade sales, public relations, consumer marketing, social networking, meetings and convention marketing and brand development for Chicago in the UK market.

The UK represents Chicago’s largest international inbound market with over 158,000 annual visitors.

However, the market experienced a significant decline in 2010 with a 22 per cent drop in visitation. 

The selection of Hills Balfour is the first step in a long-term strategy of growing the UK market.

“The selection of Hills Balfour to support our communications and tourism marketing efforts in the UK are crucial to our overall plan of increasing domestic and international visitation,” said Warren Wilkinson, senior vice president, marketing & communications for the CCTB.

“The United Kingdom represents Chicago’s largest inbound international market with significant growth potential.

“The UK enjoys exceptional accessibility to Chicago with over 8 daily non-stops from London Heathrow as well as service from Manchester England. 

“After a comprehensive review, we’re pleased to select Hills Balfour as our agency of record.”

Hills Balfour will position Chicago as a must-see destination for UK travellers and as a gateway destination for Illinois and the Midwest.

The firm will leverage all of the city’s cultural assets and key tourism drivers to develop compelling reasons for Brits to travel to Chicago, whether for their first time or as returning visitors.

“We are thrilled to be appointed to represent the CCTB in the UK and to be involved with the promotion of such an iconic city. With our extensive USA and destination experience, this will give us the opportunity to immediately re-invigorate and excite the trade, media and consumers in the UK market about Chicago and look to return visitor arrivals to a level the city deserves,” said Jonathan Sloan, managing director, Hills Balfour.

The Chicago visitor industry is directly responsible for 124,000 jobs resulting in $616 million in tax revenue that supports education, healthcare, public safety and other public services and $11.1 billion in direct spending by visitors on food, entertainment, transportation and shopping.

City.Mobi

Also in the United States today, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to Chicago.

City.Mobi offers the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the City.Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.

However, each city retains its own mobile identity via a dedicated domain. Already on offer are Brussels.Mobi, Paris.Mobi, Sanfrancisco.Mobi and Sydney.Mobi.

Chicago.Mobi is the latest in this illustrious line up, offering click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers.

Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.

Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.

City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.

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