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Mayor Richard M. Daley and convention and tourism officials today said the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) -- which pulled its scheduled 2012 meeting out of Chicago citing high costs -- will hold its annual conference here in 2015 and 2019.
“Everyone knows how important Chicago's convention industry is to the economy of our city and region. 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. Lake Shore Dr.
“This is our first convention signing of the New Year and I know there will be many more to come,” he said.
Daley said the decision by HIMSS to return here proves that the actions taken in recent months to re-establish Chicago as the nation’s premier convention destination have done just that.
Last year, after the City had lost several conventions, Daley lead efforts to bring together the Governor, the General Assembly and leaders from organized labor and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau to develop a strategy for attracting and retaining conventions.
As a result, the legislature passed a bill that re-invented Chicago's tourism and convention efforts by changing work rules that were putting Chicago at a competitive disadvantage.
Daley said the legislation has had a profound and positive impact: More than a dozen shows have signed with Chicago in recent months, including the American Society of Nephrology, Biotechnology Industry Organization, the International Housewares Association, the Association for Manufacturing Technology and the National Restaurant Association.
The HIMMS show attracts some 30,000 attendees and generates an estimated $33 million in direct expenditures. It is the industry’s top gathering for healthcare information technology issues.
“That we have been able to attract this organization back to Chicago a little more than one year after it cancelled its 2012 show here gives us all great satisfaction, the Mayor said.
Daley said information technology is one of the keys to Chicago's economic future and that one of his fundamental objectives as Mayor has been to transform the economy and make Chicago a leader in the technology-based economy of the 21st century.
“Chicago is a leader in both the medical and technology fields, and hosting the 2015 and 2019 HIMMS convention gives us a wonderful opportunity to tell our story to the leaders of these industries.
“I am very happy to welcome the show and its visitors from all over the world back to Chicago, and I believe we’re now as competitive as ever and have a system and leadership in place to take our convention industry to the next level,” he said.
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