Chicago, IL – After five years with the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau (CCTB), Mark Tunney has left to pursue other opportunities. Tunney had been senior vice president of sales since February 2011. TSE could not reach Tunney for comment, but the CCTB confirmed his departure. In the interim, Mike Tarr, vice president of convention sales, will assume some additional duties. The bureau told Trade Show Executive that the position will be filled, but hiring details are not yet available.
In January 2011, the CCTB named Don Welsh as president and CEO. Welsh previously served as CEO of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association. One month after coming on board, Welsh promoted Tunney from managing director of convention sales to senior vice president of sales and services.
The city’s convention and visitors industry has been riding a wave of good news since last October when the Metropolitan Exposition & Pier Authority (MPEA) and the labor unions reached an agreement to solidify work rule reforms at McCormick Place. The convention center ranks No. 1 in the U.S. by prime exhibit space, according to TSE’s Directory of the World’s Top Convention Centers, June 2012 edition. McCormick Place offers 2.6 million sf of prime exhibit space.
In April, Choose Chicago, the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting the destination to business and leisure travelers, announced that the city attracted 42.39 million domestic business and leisure visitors in 2011, an 11.2% increase over the 38.11million visitors in 2010. The annual increase represents the first positive year-over-year change in this visitor metric since 2007 and surpasses the overall U.S. average by 4.5%, according to the CCTB. Compared with 2010, business travel to Chicago increased 5.1% to 10.58 million business travelers in 2011.
Earlier this year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Chicago’s tourism efforts would be joined into one organization, saving $1.3 million a year in resources. The bureau said the savings would be reinvested into Choose Chicago’s regional, national and international marketing and public relations efforts.
Tunney has worked in the industry since 1989. Before joining CCTB, Tunney served as director, sales and marketing, for the Renaissance Chicago Hotel, a Marriott International property. In addition, he has held sales positions with Starwood and Hyatt.
Reach Mark at (312) 907-7252; Meghan Risch, vice president, communications, CCTB, (312) 567-8540 or firstname.lastname@example.org