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114 million tourists visited Illinois last year, setting new record: governor

Visitors to Illinois hit an all-time high in 2017. | Alice Bazerghi/Sun-Times

Illinois might have its share of problems, but tourism isn’t one.

In 2017, the state welcomed nearly 114 million visitors, setting a new record, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office announced Tuesday in a statement. Last year’s visitor totals were three percent higher than 2016, which set the previous record.

The visitors spent $39.5 billion in Illinois, and gave a $1.1 billion boost to the state’s economy, according to the statement.

Eight-three percent of last year’s travelers came to Illinois for fun, and the rest visited for business.

In the past decade, travelers visiting Illinois increased by more than 22 million.

“Tourism is a critical part of our economy,” Rauner 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 DCEO 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.”