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Illinois breaks news tourism ground in 2018

Illinois breaks news tourism ground in 2018

More than 117 million visitors travelled to Illinois in 2018, setting a new record number of visitors for the state, governor Jay Pritzker announced today. 

Visitors to the state spent $41.7 billion, boosting Illinois’ economy by $2 billion over the previous year, according to data provided by the United States Travel Association.

This record growth resulted in a 5.1 per cent increase in visitor spending over 2017 - higher than the national visitor growth rate of 4.9 per cent.

State and local tax revenue generated from visitor spending jumped 7.1 per cent to $3.3 billion, creating an additional $221 million for the state and local communities.

“From the limestone caves at Mississippi Palisades State Park to summer music festivals in Chicago, Illinois is full of vibrant cities and towns with endless attractions that receive millions of visitors each year.


“Travel and tourism in Illinois is a $40 billion industry and an integral part of our state’s economy.

“I’m proud to be governor of the state where visitors can explore ‘amazing,’” said governor Pritzker.

The Illinois travel and tourism industry supported 342,300 jobs in 2018, an increase of 5,200 jobs from 2017.

Domestic travellers came to Illinois for business (16 per cent) and pleasure (84 per cent).

Over the last ten years, the number of visitors to Illinois has increased by more than 26 million, with tourism becoming one of the state’s leading industries.

This marks the eighth consecutive year of record tourism growth in Illinois.

New Campaign

This month, Illinois Tourism rolled out its new advertising and marketing campaign that will leverage its tag line, “Are you Up for Amazing?” to spotlight new Illinois experiences, near and far.

The campaign highlights Illinois destinations from the visitor’s point of view and will also include breath-taking visuals from user generated content.

“We are thrilled to see this new campaign come to life this summer targeting our Midwest drive markets as well as national advertising to reach more visitors.

“We are confident these ads will inspire even more people to plan a trip to visit Illinois,” said Jan Kemmerling, acting deputy director for the Illinois Office of Tourism.

“Our goal with this new campaign is to touch our consumers’ hearts and evoke real emotion with the sights, sounds and tastes that are unique to Illinois.”

The Illinois Office of Tourism receives domestic visitor numbers from DK Shifflet and international visitor numbers from Tourism Economics. 

Visitor expenditures, tax revenue and jobs numbers come from US Travel Association.

Take a look at a snippet from the new campaign below: