Convention and Leisure Visitors Continue to Drive Strong Room Demand and Create Jobs

September 11, 2016

Mayor's Press Office


Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Choose Chicago President & CEO David Whitaker today announced record tourism performance for July 2016, driven by strong demand from convention and leisure visitor segments. Overall hotel room demand increased 2.7 percent compared to last July, even while hotel room inventory grew by an equal 2.7 percent. The numbers build on 2015's record-breaking overall performance, which generated more than 4,500 new jobs.

"Chicago's economic momentum is building and creating jobs that reach every part of our city," Mayor Emanuel said. "These latest tourism returns show that our efforts are paying off and I look forward to working even harder to ensure we keep breaking records and building on the thousands of jobs created last year."

Chicago saw record visitation in 2015 with more than 51 million visitors. Since 2010, Chicago's tourism industry has added more than 16,000 jobs, including an estimated 4,530 new jobs in 2015, now totaling over 140,000 Chicagoans serving our visitors annually.

In July, Chicago hotels and McCormick Place hosted Sage Summit, one of the industry's largest small business/technology conferences, welcoming over 15,000 delegates. Lollapalooza also generated outstanding attendance numbers. As a result, central business district hotels reached an all-time July record of 1,091,456 rooms occupied. Overall occupancy was at a record level of 88.3 percent.

"We are pleased to see July's strong performance and equally encouraged that the record-setting trend in the increase in demand we're experiencing this summer continues," Whitaker said. "July, in fact, was equally significant in that the increase in demand kept pace with the increase in rooms available. It's incumbent on us to continue to welcome more visitors to the destination as we help drive the visitor economy and work to fill our growing hotel inventory."

Helping respond to this demand, Chicago will see four new hotels now through year's end, adding more than 1,000 daily rooms in the central business district.


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