Rahm Emanuel and other Chicago leaders spoke glowingly at a press briefing yesterday about the May 19-21 NATO and G8 summits as catalyzing Chicago's tourism and general visibility.
"This will be the Super Bowl of meetings," said Don Welsh, president and CEO of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, according to the Chicago Tribune. But the Tribune reports that a big tourism and image boost may be wistful thinking because of numerous factors, including expected protests.
Lori Healey, executive director of the NATO/G8 host committee, declined to discussed the committee's fundraising goals at the briefing and downplayed potential protests, stating that, "All the focus on negativity is unproductive."
Retailers along Michiagn Ave. and the downtown area were also instructed to enlist their own security officers and businesses were encouraged to let employees work from home, if possible.