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Chicago reveals record first quarter visitor numbers

City1Chicago welcomed a record number of visitors in the first quarter of 2017, with numbers up 3.5% on the same period last year.

A record 52.55 million domestic visitors and an estimated 1.56 million overseas visitors explored the city in 2016, and those figures could be eclipsed in the coming year.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and David Whitaker, president of Choose Chicago, have previously announced plans to surpass 55 million visitors annually by 2020.

“Tourism creates jobs that reach every part of the city of Chicago, we had a record-breaking year in 2016, and this year is off to a record-breaking start,” Mr Emanuel explained.

During the first quarter of 2017, a record equalling 2.12 million rooms were occupied, jumping by 5.9% compared to the first three months of last year.

The city continues to attract business travellers, with nine major meetings taking place during the first quarter, leading to 550,000 rooms being filled.

“We are thrilled to see the momentum generated last year continue through the first quarter,” said Mr Whitaker.

Leisure room demand also surged by 4.4% in the first quarter, while growth in this area has now been recorded in 14 of the last 15 months.

Figures show that Chicago’s booming tourism industry supported more than 145,000 jobs in 2016, and resulted in $15 billion in direct tourism spending – a 2.6% increase on 2015.

In order to cater for the growing demand, eight new hotels opened in Chicago’s Central Business District last year, increasing the number of daily rooms available by 4.2%, taking the total to 40,945.

“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,” continued Mr Whitaker.

In an attempt to continue the positive growth in tourism, Illinois has recently launched the "Up for Amazing" ad campaign, which is aimed at millennial tourists looking for out-of-the-ordinary vacation experiences.

If you’re thinking of travelling abroad this year, be sure to organise your long-haul travel insurance in advance.

Date Created: 16 May 2017

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