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Growth in leisure travel pushed Illinois’ domestic visitor level to more than 99 million in 2012, a record for the second year running.
The state saw a 6.1 percent increase in visitors last year, surpassing a national growth rate of 5.4 percent, Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to announce Monday.
“Another year of record-breaking numbers proves that travel is back and the tourism industry in Illinois is thriving,” Quinn said in a statement.
The state drew 80.1 million vacationers last year, up 6.9 percent from 2011. Growth in business travel was only 2.5 percent, to 18.9 million visitors, still below the peak of 21.4 million in 2000.
In 2008, when the recession took hold, business travelers comprised 22.7 percent of the state’s visitors. Last year, the share had dropped to 19 percent.
International visitor numbers are expected to be reported later this summer, but preliminary data indicate they are on the rise, the governor’s office said.
State and local tax revenue from tourism totaled $2.3 billion in 2012. State tax revenue rose 5.3 percent to $1.6 billion, while local tax revenue rose 6.6 percent to more than $699 million.
An increase in Chicago’s hotel tax rate boosted the city’s hotel tax receipts last year by $26.1 million, to $100.8 million.
The state’s travel industry workforce grew an estimated 1.9 percent, to 275,370, according to preliminary estimates.
(c)2013 the Chicago Tribune. Distributed by MCT Information Services.