Choose Chicago, the city’s tourism agency, has a new leader who hopes to attract more visitors after two years of declining travel and activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On May 9, Lynn Osmond will begin her four-year contract as CEO and president of Choose Chicago. The agency promotes leisure and business travel to bring revenue to the city’s attractions, events, hotels, restaurants and convention centers, most notably McCormick Place.
Osmond, the former top executive of the Chicago Architecture Center for 25 years, will be the first woman to lead the agency started by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2012.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot pointed to Osmond’s experience when announcing her hiring last month.
“As the city continues to see a rise in tourism, Osmond’s intimate knowledge of this city will ensure that we will continue to safely encourage and delight those who come to Chicago for work or play,” Lightfoot said in a March 16 press release.
As restrictions lift, the city may be seeing an uptick in visitors — Choose Chicago noted a July 2021 hotel occupancy rate of 57.5% — the highest rate since Feb. 2020, according to the agency.