A record 114 million people traveled to Illinois in 2017, the state governor has revealed – a 1.4% increase on 2016.
This equates to 1.6 million more people descending on The Prairie State for their vacation or business trip than the year before.
Gov. Bruce Rauner also disclosed that these travelers brought a $1.1 billion (€0.93 billion, £0.74 billion) boost to the state’s economy on the previous year.
Visitors spent in total $39.5 billion (€33.50 billion, £29.27 billion) in Illinois in 2017, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
The growth also had an impact on tourism industry jobs in Illinois. It supported 335,500 jobs in 2017 – an increase of 18,600 since 2015.
Meanwhile, the newly-released figures also show that 17% of visitors to Illinois came for business, while 83% did for leisure.
Visitor numbers to Illinois have increased by 22 million over the last 10 years – a huge tourism success story.
‘Tourism is a critical part of our economy’
Commenting on the news, Rauner said: ‘Tourism is a critical part of our economy. There is so much to see and do in our state.
‘It is gratifying to know that so many people come here each year to experience what we have to offer.’
He furthermore added: ‘My hat is off to DCEO and the Department of Tourism for getting the word out with the “Up for Amazing” campaign. It is paying off smartly for our businesses and our tax rolls.’
Illinois Office of Tourism Director, Cory Jobe added: ‘The spring/summer [Up for Amazing] campaign was extremely successful with every dollar invested delivering nearly $9 (€7.63, £6.67) in economic impact for our state.’