Tourism is rising in Illinois, governor's office says

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ILLINOIS (WAND) – More people are visiting Illinois than ever before, according to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office.

State leaders say close to 114 million people traveled to Illinois in 2017, with the wide majority coming for pleasure (83 percent) as opposed to business (17 percent). The numbers from last year are 1.4 percent higher than what the state saw in 2016.

Visitor spending saw a big boost, with tourists pumping $39.5 billion into Illinois in 2017. That’s a $1.1 billion bump from 2016. In addition, visitor outlays for goods and services raised $2.95 billion ($75 million increase) in combined state and local tax revenue.

Cory Jobe, who directs the Illinois Office of Tourism, credits the department’s work with its “Up for Amazing” marketing campaign, which launched last March and targeted nearly 20 total markets, including five on an international scale.

“The spring/summer campaign was extremely successful, with every dollar invested delivering nearly $9 in economic impact for our state,” Jobe said.

Gov. Rauner had some positive things to say about what the state is seeing.

“Tourism is a critical part of our economy,” he said. “There is so much to see and do in our state. It is gratifying to know that so many people come here each year to experience what we have to offer. My hat is off to DECO and the Department of Tourism for getting the word out with the ‘Up for Amazing’ campaign. It is paying off smartly for our businesses and our tax rolls.”

State leaders are also pointing people to Illinois’ “Amazing for All” campaign, which is trying to attract LGBTQ tourists. “Illinois Made”, which launched in 2016, can direct people to tourism destinations across the state.

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