The Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau, which is charged with promoting the city by the sea as a premiere destination for foreign and business travelers, is opening a satellite office in Chicago, representatives announced Thursday.

Lauren Rogers, the director of sales and services for the nonprofit, will manage the office effective May 1 and focus on promoting Santa Monica as a conference and incentive destination to advertising agencies, technology firms and other companies based in the Midwest.

Rogers will also continue to focus on emerging markets, specifically Brazil.

“She will focus on establishing partnerships with public relations firms and tourism representatives in-market to drive awareness and demand for Santa Monica as a travel destination,” said Kim Baker, vice president of marketing for the bureau.

Tourism is a significant contributor to the local economy, in particular City Hall’s General Fund. The tax on hotel room stays, known as the Transient Occupancy Tax, generated roughly $36 million in 2010-11, according to figures released by City Hall. The tax accounts for 13 percent of the General Fund, which pays for essential services like public safety, libraries and maintenance.

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