Illinois sees 8th-straight record tourism growth in 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois saw an eighth-straight year of record tourism growth in 2018, attracting more than 117 million visitors in 2018.

The state released the data Tuesday ahead of the Fourth of July holiday. U.S. Travel Association numbers show visitors to Illinois spent $41.7 billion over the previous year. That’s a more than 5% increase in visitor spending over 2017. Tourism generated $3.3 billion in state and local tax revenue, a more than 7% jump.

Tourism was a boon jobs-wise too. The state says travel and tourism support more than 342,000 jobs last year. That’s up 5,200 jobs from 2017.

The Illinois Office of Tourism credits the record numbers to successful marketing efforts. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker called tourism “an integral part of our state’s economy.”

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