January, February, and March were really good months to visit the Windy City.

I don't know why, but I didn't think that many tourists would look at Chicago as their go-to destination in the dead of winter--but, they did. Lots and lots of them.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and David Whitaker, President & CEO of Choose Chicago announced Chicago reached record tourism levels in the first quarter of 2018. The results build on Chicago's record performance of 55.2 million visitors in 2017.

In the first quarter of 2018, total rooms occupied reached a record 2.33 million, an increase of 10.5 percent. The double-digit growth was fueled by both an increase in leisure rooms booked - up 7.1 percent, and a significant increase in group rooms booked - up 20.5 percent. The occupancy rate increased 5.7 percent, up to 61.2 percent, which ties for the highest level ever recorded, set over a decade ago.


Chicago's tourism industry supported an estimated 146,500 jobs in 2017. Prior to 2011, there were an estimated 124,400 tourism-related positions. The 55.2 million visitors to Chicago in 2017 generated an estimated 22,000 additional jobs. In 2010 Chicago saw approximately 39.25 million visitors. 2017's performance is an approximately 40 percent increase.

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