Last updated: 09:38 AM ET, Fri April 24 2015

Chicago Begins Quest for Tourism Records with 'Epic' Ad Campaign

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | April 24, 2015

Chicago Begins Quest for Tourism Records with 'Epic' Ad Campaign

In the wake of a record-setting 2014 that saw more than 50 million visitors descend on the Windy City, Chicago's tourism bureau, Choose Chicago has launched a new ad campaign in hopes of reaching brand new heights in 2015 and beyond. 

The "Chicago Epic" campaign accompanies Choose Chicago CEO Don Welsh's lofty goal of drawing 55 million annual visitors by the year 2020. 

According to Maudlyne Ihejirika of the Chicago Sun Times, the new campaign is currently airing online and on DirecTV, with the bureau targeting the San Francisco Bay Area and Denver, among other markets. 

As for 2015, Choose Chicago has set its sights on 2.4 million booked hotel room nights and acquiring 55 new meeting groups. 

"We said, big cities do big things, and after a lot of research, it led to this feeling that epic things happen in Chicago" said Welsh during a speech this week. "Epic is something that Chicago can clearly hang its hat on."

But in addition to welcoming 55 million visitors per year by the end of the decade, Chicago also aims to break through into the top five U.S. cities for inbound overseas travel by 2020. It currently ranks No. 9, according to Welsh, trailing New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Honolulu and Washington, D.C.

Of the 50.2 million visitors who came to Chicago last year, only 1.4 million came from overseas.

But Welsh and his colleagues hope that the new Chicago Epic ad, which you can view below, will help them surpass some of those other beloved tourist destinations.

"We’re talking about a city that we clearly know is one of the greatest cities not only in the United States but in the world," added Welsh. "In 2014, we accomplished what only two other cities in the U.S. — New York and Orlando — could, and that’s host 50 million visitors."

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