Sunday, July 03, 2011

Can An International Festival Boost A City's Profile?

Toronto Skyline

Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune takes a look at Toronto's Luminato Festival which just concluded:

But for all the lofty artistic aims spoken at Luminato, which claims to be the largest multi-arts festival in North America, one message here rings the loudest and the clearest: This festival was created to promote its home city and build its cultural prestige around the globe. Or, as the manifesto of the co-founders puts it: “to shine Toronto's light on the world and the world's light on Toronto.” You can't say it much clearer than that.

Surely, there are several lessons here for Chicago, a city that desperately wants to improve its international reputation and currently minimal share of foreign tourists. According to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Chicago's share of international visitors to the U.S. actually shrank between 2009 and 2010: from 4.7percent to 4.5 percent, a share already below that of much smaller cities like Boston. In 2010, Toronto attracted roughly 2 1/2 times as many international visitors as Chicago.

(Photo of Toronto by Ilke Ender)

1 comment:

Ian Thal said...

... a share already below that of much smaller cities like Boston.

Once I was speaking to a European tourist who said that Europeans liked Boston because it was the most European of American cities.