FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
9/22/2009
Governor�s Press Office (312-814-3158)
Mayor�s Press Office (312-744-3334)

 Tourism Generates Big Economic Impact for Illinois, Chicago

Retains More Than 303,500 Statewide Jobs

CHICAGO - September 22, 2009. At Navy Pier, the Midwest's most visited tourist site, Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Richard M. Daley joined labor leaders, community advocates and other elected officials to highlight the importance of the tourism industry to the city and state's economy. The visitor industry generates billions of dollars in economic impact and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to Illinois' 2008 tourism numbers.

"Our convention and tourism industry is one of Illinois' prime economic growth engines. It produces thousands of jobs while bolstering the image of Chicago and the Land of Lincoln throughout the world," said Governor Pat Quinn. "Even in this difficult economy, we must always reinvest in this industry. We must keep it strong and vital so everyone in Illinois may benefit and prosper."

Statewide $30.8 billion was spent by visitors in 2008, yielding $2.1 billion in state and local taxes and enerating 303,500 jobs.

Recently released data found that 45.6 million domestic and overseas travelers visited Chicago in 2008, generating $11.8 billion in spending, up 2.6 percent from 2007. That spending yielded more than $656 illion in tax revenues for the City of Chicago and State of Illinois. Nearly 132,000 jobs were generated in the City of Chicago in 2008 as a result of the tourism industry, according to the Washington, D.C. - based U. S. Travel Association.

"We are doing all we can to support and expand our convention and tourism industry, and because of he thousands of jobs it creates it is one of our top economic development priorities. Chicago is one the world's great destinations and when we attract visitors to Chicago we help create jobs for hard-working people and keep our hospitality industry and all our local businesses strong," Mayor Daley said.

State tax revenues from visitor spending were approximately $1.4 billion in 2008, which added over $1 billion to the state's General Revenue Fund (GRF).

In 2008, Chicago welcomed more than 1.3 million overseas visitors - a 19 percent increase over 2007 and the largest volume of overseas visitors the city has ever hosted. Chicago is the 9th most popular city for verseas visitors to the U.S., and overseas visitation from the United Kingdom was up 14 percent, while only up one percent to the U.S.

Illinois maintained its ranking as the 6th most popular state for overseas visitors to the U.S. In 2008, the state hosted 1.4 million overseas visitors - an increase of 21 percent over the prior year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Tourism Industries.