Watch CBS News

Illinois tourism brings in more than $44 billion in 2022

Illinois tourism brings in more than $44 billion in 2022
Illinois tourism brings in more than $44 billion in 2022 02:28

CHICAGO (CBS) -- When you think of Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and NASCAR, economic growth doesn't necessarily come to mind.

But these past and future events bring lots of people into the city.

CBS 2's Shardaa Gray reports the state has seen record-breaking growth in Illinois tourism. 

My Chicago has been on Michigan and Monroe for several decades. Manager Jose Bahena said he's seen more out-of-town people visiting the city.

"Especially May, June July has been really busy. A lot more tourists, a lot more people. NASCAR brought in some people. So that helped a little bit," Bahena said.

He sees visitors like Heather Moore and Zack Shannon who are from Kentucky.

"Oh, we're going to ride the Ferris wheel tomorrow," said Shannon.

"This is probably my third time being here and it's one of my favorite cities and you all have a lot to offer," added Moore.

Governor JB Pritzker announced record-breaking hotel revenues for the fiscal year of 2023 and extraordinary growth in Illinois tourism.

"The 111 million visitors who filled our hotel rooms in 2022 spent over $44 billion. That's great for business," Pritzker said. 

The overall economic impact amounted to a staggering $78 billion, a 30% increase from 2021.

Chicago Loop Alliance President and CEO Michael Edwards said downtown is led back by a couple of sectors: students, residents, and visitors.

"A lot of them are local. They come down for the shows and 800,000 people came down to see the shows for the first quarter of the year," Edwards said. 

The Chicago Loop Alliance does pedestrian count through street levels. They said State Street is 80% of what it was pre-pandemic."

"When things like NASCAR is here or Lollapalooza coming up, we've been at 100% of 2019 levels, which means people are downtown," said 

Shannon said he plans to enjoy Chicago's unique views.

"The arts are alive and thriving here. That's really what brings us here," Shannon said. 

According to the tourism economics report, state and local tax revenue from visitor spending generated $4.2 billion. This has helped directly support 270,600 jobs in the state's tourism and hospitality industry.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.