Chicago officials said Thursday they are hoping the city’s newest attraction, a moveable platform that leaves people hanging 1,000 feet out above Michigan Avenue, will help reach its 2020 tourism goals.
“It’s going to help tourism in the city and help bring new perspective,” said Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd)
The opening, which has been in the works for almost two years, came as part of National Travel and Tourism Week. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has set a goal of 55 million total visitors coming through Chicago six years from now.
“We are trying to get in the top five U.S. cities internationally for business. We are currently at number nine,” said president and CEO Don Welsh of Choose Chicago, about the city’s tourism rank.
Jenn Hoelzle, travel director of Illinois, said it is important to create new attractions for visitors.
“The U.S. Travel Association is trying to change the way we travel,” she said. Then, she took made an interesting suggestion: “If Americans took just one more sick day off of work, it would pump 73 billion dollars more into the economy.
Almost all the event’s guests tried out Tilt!, which is a platform divided into eight individual section that are tilted at 30 degrees. Some enjoyed it.
“It’s amazing. Cool is an understatement,” said Kenneth Hafft, an accountant who worked on the finances for the project.
Others didn’t. “It was too much, I had to keep my eyes closed the whole time,” said one reporter covering the event for ChicagoTalks.
Tourists pay $18 to get up to the building’s observation deck and then an additional $5 to be tilted.
Tilt! cost “several million dollars” to build and was funded by a private, family-owned business that runs the observation deck, said Nichole Williamson, general manager of 360 Chicago.
Welsh said that in the last three years they have produced a new city because of the growing number of hotels, restaurants, and other attractions, including Tilt!
This story is contributed by Brenda Mak, Mitchell Gaddis, Salina Jewell and Shanice Harris.