Data Shows More U.S. Tourists Visiting Illinois, Staying Longer

Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) – New Illinois tourism figures show about 110 million tourists from around the country visited the state last year, a more than 1 million increase compared to 2015.

Eighty-three percent of visitors came for leisure and 17 percent came for business, The Chicago Tribune reported. Governor Bruce Rauner released the numbers Monday, saying that every $1 invested in tourism in Illinois generates $9 in economic impact.

“This is another example that in areas where we can improve the economy, our administration is moving forward,” Rauner said in a statement. “Illinois is the greatest state in the nation. We have so much to be proud of and so many reasons to invite our out-of-state friends to visit the Land of Lincoln.”

According to the Illinois Office of Tourism, the average stay lasted about 3 percent longer than the previous year. That figure outpaced national growth, which saw stays increase 2.4 percent.

Officials say the number of U.S. travelers coming to the state has increased by 19 million during the last decade.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Choose Chicago CEO and president David Whitaker said 54.1 million people visited Chicago in 2016. The city has had a 3.5 percent increase over the first quarter of 2016 with over 10.5 million visitors in the first quarter of 2017.

“We are thrilled to see the momentum generated last year continue through the first quarter,” Whitaker said. “Chicago continues to excel as a major meetings destination and the growth in leisure demand signals our continued success and reputation as a destination that features amazing vacation and lifestyle experiences.”

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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