Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Choose Chicago today announced that visitors to the city in 2017 reached 55.2 million – a new record and 2.5 per cent increase over the previous year.
The increase of 1.4 million reaches the mayor’s ambitious goal of 55 million visitors annually – two years early.
Chicago’s tourism industry supported an estimated 146,500 jobs in 2017.
The projected 55.2 million visitors to Chicago in 2017 generated an estimated additional 22,000 jobs.
Last year marked another major increase in leisure visitors to the city as Chicago hotels reported an overall annual increase of 6.3 per cent.
This increase of the leisure segment was particularly strong in the key summer months as hotels reported an increase of 7.4 per cent during the four-month period June through September – more than double the growth of the previous summer.
Overall, Chicago hotel demand in terms of rooms occupied grew 3.3 per cent in 2017.
“Tourism in Chicago means jobs throughout Chicago,” Emanuel said.
“By continuing to set new tourism records and bring millions more people to Chicago every year, we are generating economic opportunities that reach every Chicago neighbourhood.”
The positive momentum being generated is also helping fuel industry growth as Chicago opened five new hotels in 2017 with another eight new hotels currently scheduled to open in 2018.