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Illinois set a record for tourism for the second straight year in 2012. More than 99 million tourists visited Illinois last year, a 6.1 percent increase over 2011. The national growth rate is around 5.4 percent per year.
Governor Pat Quinn is expected to announce the record growth later today.
"Another year of record-breaking numbers proves that travel is back and the tourism industry in Illinois is thriving," said Quinn in a statement. The governor's office said preliminary data indicates international visitor numbers are expected to be on the rise. Official statistics of international tourism will likely be reported later this summer.
Vacationers aren't the only ones flocking to Illinois; business travel grew 2.5 percent and made up 19 percent of the state's visitors. With the increase in tourism and business travel, tax revenue has increased as well. State tax revenue from tourism is up to 1.6 billion dollars, a growth of 5.3 percent, while local tax revenue rose 6.6 percent to nearly $700 million.
Chicago's hotel tax increase helped boost hotel tax receipts to $100.8 million last year, an increase of $26.1 million, while the travel industry workforce in Illinois grew nearly 2 percent to 275,370.
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune