July 09, 2008

Members of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau are banding together to offer discounts to meeting planners, hoping to boost convention bookings. American Airlines, a strategic partner of the CCTB, is offering up to 75 percent off published fares for groups of 10 or more traveling to Chicago. "As great a city as Chicago is, it is well known how intense competition is for travel and tourism," Thomas Aichele, an American Airlines vice president, said in a statement. "That is why we believe our strategic partnership with the city of Chicago will strengthen its popular position as a global visitor destination, and by extension that will help improve business for American Airlines." Other discounts for planners include breaks on rental fees at various cultural facilities and on rates from ground transportation companies. The deals are valid during the first quarter of each of the next three years.

The Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau has contracted with the Professional Convention Management Association to offer the PCMA Certified Association Sales Executive online course to sales professionals in Cancun. The CVB also will bring in PCMA representatives during the three-month course, which begins in August. According to Fernando Cervantes Mondragon, director of groups and conventions at the Cancun CVB, offering the CASE course is part of the CVB's renewed focus on attracting convention business from the United States