Illinois sees boost in tourism as hotels report record revenues for fiscal year 2023

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Monday, July 10, 2023
Illinois hotels report record revenues for fiscal year 2023
Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday touted Illinois tourism revenue for fiscal year 2023 as the hotel industry recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The hotel industry broke its pre-pandemic record for revenue during the last 12 months.

That's one of the clearest signs that tourism is on the road to recovery.

"Our tourism industry is back, and it's booming," said Gov. JB Pritzker.

The state reported that in 2022, more than 111 million people visited Illinois, spending more than $444 billion, both more than 90% of the record numbers set in 2019.

The Illinois Department of Commerce attributed that to people's desire to get out and do and see attractions around the state. They also partially credited an aggressive marketing campaign, featuring actress and Illinois native Jane Lynch, who's starring in three new ads targeting neighboring states this summer.

"More tourism means millions of new visitors exploring all the amazing things that our state and city have to offer, supporting small businesses and local economies along the way," Pritzker said.

The biggest beneficiary of the tourism boom is hotels, with revenues hitting an all-time high of $308 million during the last 12 months. This came less than three years from when the pandemic virtually shut down the hotel industry.

"I think there's a lot of excitement and optimism when you look at statewide tourism. Here in Chicago, we're strong, don't get me wrong, but we're not back to normal quite as much as we are throughout the rest of the state," said Illinois Hotel Lodging Association President Michael Jacobson.

The Mag Mile Association also reported positive signs, with the number of visitors up by 5% from a year ago and almost back to pre-pandemic numbers. International travelers a big part of that.

"We're certainly hearing a lot of languages. Again, we're seeing people wearing different credentials, people dragging suitcases down the Mile is always heartwarming," said Magnificent Mile Association Board Chair Justine Fedak.

In Chicago, the hotel industry is not expected to be fully recovered from the impact of the pandemic until 2025, but Monday's numbers combined with hopes for a good summer bode well for the tourism business.