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Chicago is among a handful of large convention markets that are predicted to lag in recovery until 2025

Chicago’s Convention Sector Lags Other Cities in Recovery 

Chicago’s convention industry is up and running again but falling behind other cities in the race to revive trade shows, corporate meetings and other business gatherings, Crain’s Chicago Business reported

A new report from meetings analytics firm Knowland says that although 21 of the 25 largest U.S. convention and trade show markets are on track to return to 2019 levels of events and attendance by 2024, Chicago is in a small group of laggards that won’t fully recover until at least 2025. 

Nearly a year after Illinois lifted a ban on in-person indoor gatherings, a mix of factors has delayed the comeback of a multibillion-dollar local industry, according to Knowland. They include the slow lifting of pandemic restrictions, a devastated hotel scene and fear of crime in Chicago’s CBD. 

“Chicago needs a PR campaign to let planners know it’s open for business,” Knowland CEO Jeff Bzdawka told Crain’s. 


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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

  • ◦Economy