Chicago sets new tourism record with nearly 58 million visitors in 2018 — and the mayor is thrilled

Whether it’s for enterprise or pleasure, guests poured into Chicago at report-breaking ranges last yr, in line with new tourism figures Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to release Friday.

Annual visitor projections reported by Select Chicago, the town’s tourism bureau, present an unprecedented 57.6 million visitors in 2018 — a four.3 % bounce over 2017’s document of 55.2 million.

The rate of progress was biggest among home vacationers, whose numbers ticked up by four.4 % from 2017 to 2018. Chicago welcomed more abroad visitors too; their ranks swelled by 2.9 %.

The increase comes regardless of the town’s properly-publicized problems, including gun violence and strained police-group relations — issues that don’t look like deterring guests, at the least not in droves.

“Travel and tourism is a phrase-of-mouth business,” stated Emanuel, noting that Chicago has no shortage of belongings that make it a simple sell, particularly on social media.

“For two years in a row, Conde Nast Traveler readers voted Chicago the No. 1 (massive) metropolis,” Emanuel stated. “That’s concerning the restaurants, the theaters, the music, the museums. That’s concerning the lodge room, the view out of the lodge room. What Conde Nast captured was a vibe.”

Talking by telephone on Thursday, Emanuel made it clear that he views tourism as one of the success tales of his mayoral tenure. When he took over the town’s prime job in 2011, Chicago logged 39 million visitors a yr. As he prepares to wrap up his second and (presumably) last term, that quantity has ballooned to just about 58 million.

“We didn’t simply journey the national wave; we’re ahead of it,” Emanuel stated. “No city has seen that type of exponential progress, from 39 million to more than fifty seven million.”

Emanuel stated he determined to make tourism a priority shortly before he took workplace, when, as mayor-elect, he had a breakfast assembly with then New York Metropolis Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“I stated, ‘Speak to me about something I haven’t discussed as a candidate — something I don’t know something about,” Emanuel recalled. “Inside a blink of an eye fixed he stated, ‘Tourism.’ I stated, ‘You’ve received to be kidding me.’ He stated, ‘For those who do it right, you’ll be able to immediately create jobs, a development growth, and so on.’ ”

After that breakfast, Emanuel had his workforce do a “prime to backside scrub” of the town’s tourism business. Consequently, he targeted on fixing issues plaguing the town’s premier conference middle, an “beneath-performing McCormick Place,” and streamlined numerous entities charged with advertising the town into one…

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