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Mayor Richard M. Daley and city convention officials said today the National Restaurant Association has signed a five-year agreement to keep its annual convention in Chicago from 2012 through 2016.
“One of the most important parts our city’s economy -- historically, in the present and in the future -- is our convention and tourism industry. If it isn't healthy, it costs us jobs, revenue and other economic activity,” Daley said in a news conference held at McCormick Place, 2301 S. Indiana Av.
“This is a real victory for Chicago and it builds on the other successes we have achieved since we re-structured our convention operations,” he said.
The Restaurant Association has held its annual show in Chicago for 61 consecutive years. It brings 66,000 attendees to the City, books 45,000 hotel room nights and generates direct expenditures each year of more than $100 million.
Daley pointed to state legislation passed earlier this year that re-invented Chicago's tourism and convention efforts at Navy Pier and McCormick Place as a major factor in the decision of the Restaurant Association – and other organizations – to sign agreements to meet in Chicago.
“That legislation will save jobs, create new ones and bring much-needed new revenue and other economic activity to Chicago and our region,” he said.
In June, the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau announced that six customers had re-committed for future years and three new shows had committed as a result of the McCormick Place Reform Legislation.
In August, it was announced that the International Manufacturing Technology Show – with more than 82,000 attendees -- had re-committed to holding the show in Chicago in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
Two weeks ago it was announced that the BIO International Convention – the global event for biotechnology – will return to Chicago in 2013 and 2016.
“There’s no doubt we have great momentum right now and it’s the job of our convention leadership to keep it going. We’re now as competitive as ever and we have a new system and new leadership in place to take our convention industry to the next level.
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