Mayor Richard M. Daley will travel with a delegation of Chicago’s business and cultural leaders to the cities of Shanghai, China and Busan and Seoul, Korea from September 18-24 as part of an economic development trip to highlight Chicago as a premier global business and tourist destination. The trip is sponsored by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and World Business Chicago.
“In these tough economic times we need to be doing everything we can to make sure our city is competitive globally and we are attracting business and tourism which will help boost our local economy,” said Mayor Daley.
In Shanghai, the Mayor will meet with CEOs from Chinese companies and speak at a luncheon hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai to highlight Chicago as a premier destination for businesses and visitors. He will also meet with Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng to discuss ongoing partnerships in education and economic development.
The Mayor will also launch “Chicago Days” in Shanghai during the 2010 World Expo which is the first World Exposition to take place in a developing country.
Through a grant from the State of Illinois, the State and City will have a presence at the Expo and will have the opportunity to showcase Chicago as a premier business and tourist destination.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the number of Chinese tourists traveling to America is expected to jump 15 percent to 556,000 this year and exceed 800,000 by 2013. Statistics show that Chinese travelers spend more than their counterparts in any other country.
And according to the UN World Tourism Organization, there will be 100 million Chinese international travelers by 2020.
“Chicago Days’ will highlight the best of Chicago music, art, food and sports, aimed at piquing the interest of the nearly 70 million attendees expected during the six-month event. The line-up includes:
o Performances by soul, gospel and blues singer Otis Clay and by the Center for Asian Arts and Media’s Hip Hop ChicaGO troupe, an ensemble of Chicago’s top hip hop artists.
o A sculpture by Chicago-based artist Virginio Ferrari called “The Family,” which was selected through an international juried competition at the site of the World Expo will also be on display.
o Famed Chicago chef Art Smith, co-owner of Table Fifty-Two, will also be featured at “Chicago Days” and will be offering a unique “Chicago Menu” at the Grand Hyatt in Shanghai.
“Chicago Days” marks the 25th Anniversary of the friendship between Chicago Sister Cities and Shanghai that has fostered cultural and educational exchanges between the two cities.
“Chicago Days” is a collaborative effort of the Chicago Office of Tourism, Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Chicago Sister Cities International, Illinois Office of Tourism and World Business Chicago. It is sponsored by American Airlines, Boeing, Chicago Gourmet and Deloitte.
Mayor Daley will also travel to the cities of Busan and Seoul, Korea to meet with international business and government leaders to encourage investment and trade with Chicago.
This is the first time the Mayor will travel to Korea, and the city of Busan, which became a Chicago Sister City in 2007.
In Busan, Mayor Daley will meet with Mayor Hur Nam-Sik to tour some of Busan’s municipal projects and discuss possible business and cultural opportunities between the two cities.
In Seoul, the Mayor will meet with Mayor Oh Se-hoon and will be addressing Korean and American/Chicago business leaders at an event hosted by the Korean Chamber of Commerce.
The Chairman of the Korean Chamber of Commerce is leading a delegation of Korean businesses to Chicago in early September and will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.
There are 25 Korean companies at more than 50 locations in the Chicago area including Samsung, LG, Hyundai, the handbag importer Carina International and Korean Airlines. Additionally, there are more than 50 Chicago-area companies with operations in Korea.
The Chicago Customs District had $7.3 billion in imports from Korea last year in the areas of electric machinery, industrial machinery/computers, vehicles and parts and plastics and rubber articles.
Exports totaled $1.3 billion and included medical/surgical instruments, industrial machinery/computers, electric machinery, pharmaceuticals and aircraft parts.
Korea was the Chicago Customs District’s fourth largest trade partner after China, Canada and Japan.
The Republic of Korea is the third largest source country for foreign students at Illinois institutes of higher education.
The Republic of Korea is also a telecommunications leader, with one of the most “wired” populations on earth and has embarked on an innovative collaboration with the State of Illinois and Chicago area universities and organizations on a Smart Grid program designed to research energy efficiency and workforce training.