Record number of visitors made the trip to Chi-Town in 2017

Record number of visitors made the trip to Chi-Town in 2017

CHICAGO — Chicago welcomed a record-breaking number of visitors in 2017, with 55.2 million arrivals, representing a 2.5% increase over the previous year.

This 1.4 million increase means that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s goal of 55 million visitors annually has been reached two years early. Chi-Town’s tourism industry supported an estimated 146,500 jobs in 2017, a 17% increase since Mayor Emanuel took office.

“Tourism in Chicago means jobs throughout Chicago,” he 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.”

Last year marked another major increase in leisure visitors to the city as Chicago hotels reported an overall annual increase of 6.3%. This increase of the leisure segment was particularly strong in the key summer months as hotels reported an increase of 7.4% during the four-month period from June through September, more than double the growth of the previous summer.

Overall, Chicago hotel demand in terms of rooms occupied grew 3.3% in 2017. The positive momentum 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.

Another key segment generating overnight visitors is the convention and meetings industry convening at McCormick Place. Of the largest 40 conventions held, 21 achieved increased attendance over their prior year event, including 10 that experienced all-time attendance records.

To build on that progress, the Global Business Travel Association has committed to hosting its Annual Convention in July 2019, which will be the world’s largest business travel event, with more than 7,000 business travel professionals from around the world.