CHICAGO -- Bursting with civic pride, tourism and local
political representatives gathered for a press conference to herald
the 1998 International Pow Wow, which will take place in Chicago
from May 23 to 27 at McCormick Place.
Approximately 5,800 industry professionals, tour and travel
producers and journalists from more than 70 countries are expected
to attend, and it is anticipated that arrangements for roughly $3
billion worth of future inbound business to the U.S. will be made
Not lost on any of the speakers were estimates Chicago will
realize an immediate $300 million economic benefit from hosting the
event and reap long-term gains in the form of increased overseas
visitors. About 60% of international tour and travel producers
expect to increase the number of tours in their brochures that
feature the host city, largely due to their experience at Pow Wow,
the Chicago Host Committee said.
Maggie Daley, Mayor Richard Daley's wife, said Pow Wow will give
Chicago another shot at capturing the "too many" international
travelers who visit the East or West Coast and "miss this great
city in between." "One of the most important sources of new jobs in
Chicago is tourism," Daley said.
Donna Shaw, Illinois' tourism director, said Chicago already is
the ninth-most-popular U.S. city destination for overseas
By bringing tour operators and foreign journalists in for a
first-hand taste of the city, Pow Wow will enable Illinois and
Chicago to go far beyond what they can accomplish through tourism
advertising alone. "We are going to be able to grab them and touch
them and get them excited," Shaw said.
Pow Wow is "not just another show," even though the name may
draw the occasional "snicker," said Tom Kerns, senior vice
president of marketing for the Travel Industry Association of
America and Pow Wow's general manager. Tour firms represented at
Pow Wow account for more than 80% of all organized tour business
into the U.S., he said.
Gerald Greenwald, United's chairman and chief executive officer
and Pow Wow cochair, said, "This is our chance. These folks really
are here to do business."
Robert Crandall, American's chairman and chief executive officer
and Pow Wow cochair said, "This conference will give a real boost
not only to Chicago but to the world's biggest and fastest-growing