CHICAGO — Chicago is off to running start in 2018, with record tourism levels in Q1 that will help establish the city as a “12-month destination”, says David Whitaker, President & CEO of Choose Chicago.
In the first quarter of 2018, total rooms occupied reached a record 2.33 million, an increase of 10.5%. This double-digit growth was fuelled by both an increase in leisure rooms booked (up 7.1%) and a significant increase in group rooms booked (up 20.5%). The occupancy rate increased 5.7%, up to 61.2%, which ties for the highest level ever recorded, set over a decade ago.
These results build on Chicago’s record performance of 55.2 million visitors in 2017, and reflect the city’s growing strength in attracting more leisure visitors and convention delegates, says Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“By continuing to set new tourism records and bring millions more people to Chicago every year, we are creating jobs and generating economic opportunities that reach every Chicago neighbourhood,” he adds.
Chicago’s tourism industry supported an estimated 146,500 jobs in 2017, a 17% increase since Mayor Emanuel took office. The 55.2 million visitors to Chicago last year generated an estimated 22,000 additional jobs.
Choose Chicago continues to aggressively work to bring in meetings and conventions that have not previously met in Chicago, including six the city hosted in the first quarter. Six new hotels opened their doors in the city’s Central Business District last year, with another eight new properties scheduled to open in 2018, including the new 175-room Hotel Zachary, which opened last week adjacent to Wrigley Field.