The Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism is an annual reminder of the economic impact of tourism for Illinois. The industry continues to help drive the economy of Illinois communities at the local and state level.
In May 2019, Governor JB Pritzker announced that Illinois had its 8th consecutive year of record tourism growth. Over the course of 2018, more than 117 million travelers visited Illinois, bringing an increase in visitor spending, tax revenue and local jobs.
Contributing to the strong economic impact of tourism, visitors to the state spent $41.7 billion, boosting Illinois’ economy by $2 billion over the previous year. This record growth resulted in a 5.1 percent increase in visitor spending over 2017— higher than the national visitor growth rate of 4.9 percent.
Travelers came from all over the world for business (16%) and pleasure (84%). In the past 10 years, travelers visiting Illinois increased by more than 26 million, and tourism has become one of the state’s most important industries. The Illinois tourism industry supported 342,300 jobs in 2018, an increase of 5,200 jobs since 2017.
Visitors spent a whopping $41.7 billion in Illinois in 2018, according to the U.S. Travel Association. That’s an increase of $2 billion from 2017. State and local tax revenue generated from visitor spending jumped 7.1 percent to $3.3 billion, creating an additional $220.8 million for the state and local communities.
“Tourism is a critical part of our economy, helping to create jobs and lower taxes,” said Erin Guthrie, Acting Director of the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO). “From exploring our beautiful state parks to adventures along Route 66, the Land of Lincoln offers amazing experiences to visitors from around the world. I commend DCEO and the Office of Tourism for their work promoting our great state and these record-breaking results.”