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Illinois set a new record for visitors to the state in 2011, and in turn, generated a record amount of tourism-generated economic impact. 93.3 million visitors came to the state of Illinois in 2011, shattering the previous record of 91 million in 2006. $31.8 billion in estimated economic impact was generated, an 8.4 percent rise from the previous year.
State and local tax revenue increased as well. State tax revenues rose to $1.64 billion, while local tax revenues rose to $706 million. Most importantly, 4,490 jobs were created in the State of Illinois by tourism in 2011. The number of tourism and hospitality workers in the state now number 291,990.
Tourism means jobs for the state of Illinois and the Chicago Southland, said Jim Garrett, CDME, President/CEO of the Chicago Southland CVB. The increasing number of visitors and estimated economic impact continue to show the value of tourism and the importance of the continued support of tourism funding for the Illinois Office of Tourism and the individual CVBs in the state of Illinois.
The Chicago Southland also saw increases in 2011. 1.2 million room nights were sold, an increase of about five percent over 2010. Hotel occupancy and room rates were up as well. With the expanded Tinley Park Convention Center able to host larger conventions, the renovation of the Holiday Inn Chicago Matteson Conference Center and other recently renovated properties catching the attention of meeting planners, and a number of outstanding full and limited-service properties, the Chicago Southland is poised to continue this growth in the future.