Overall Demand Grew More Than 2 Percent, Moving Chicago Closer to Mayor’s Goal of 55 Million Visitors Annually by 2020

October 9, 2016

Mayor's Press Office


Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Choose Chicago President & CEO David Whitaker today announced Chicago saw record tourism performance for the first three quarters of 2016. The results demonstrate strong performance in both leisure and group segments during the period of Jan. 1 through Sept. 30. Overall demand for the first three quarters of 2016 is up 2.2 percent. Leisure room demand has set records in each of the three quarters of 2016, boosting overall demand year-to-date. September alone saw demand growth of 6 percent.

"Tourism in Chicago creates thousands of jobs that drive economic growth throughout the city," Mayor Emanuel said. "These newest records show that our efforts are driving results and bringing more and more people to Chicago to support economic opportunities in our neighborhoods."

Overall demand generated the first three quarters of the year is helping keep pace with the increase in rooms available as a result of four new hotels added since January. Citywide conventions, paired with strong leisure demand, continue to be the catalyst for Chicago's record-setting performance.

September's performance was fueled by conventions like the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) 2016.  The show, held at McCormick Place, reported 2,407 exhibitors, the highest number of exhibitors in the show's history this year, plus more than 115,600 registrants, its third largest attendance figures. 

"September's results demonstrate that Chicago is more popular than ever in welcoming leisure visitors and convention delegates," Whitaker said. "The outstanding success of our last major trade show, IMTS, which experienced record exhibitors and its third highest number of registered delegates in the show's 31-year history, vividly demonstrates the continued importance of McCormick Place as North America's number one convention center. This, coupled with Chicago's record pace in overall visitor volumes, bodes well for helping drive our visitor industry, one of the city's primary economic engines."

The combined impact of leisure and group performance in September resulted in occupancy levels of 86 percent. This rate puts the city's visitor industry performance this year on par with the highest performing months of September in the last five years. Average Daily Rates (ADR) for all hotels in September was a record $243.65.

Year-to-date performance brings Chicago's visitor industry even closer to achieving Mayor Emanuel's goal of 55 million visitors annually by 2020. Chicago welcomed more than 52 million visitors to the city in 2015, generating $935 million in total tax revenue, $2.2 billion in revenue for Chicago's hotels and $124.1 million in hotel tax revenue.


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