There could be some friendly competition between Chicago and New York City, which is expected to hit the 55 million visitor mark as soon as this year.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to continue to expand Chicago’s tourism market.
The mayor announced Wednesday that he was raising his goal for the number of tourists who visit Chicago annually. He previously hoped for 50 million visitors a year by 2020. Now he says he wants 55 million visitors annually by 2020. City officials say about 46 million people currently visit Chicago every year.
Emanuel announced new tourism efforts too, including an international competition to light the city at night. He also says there will be a citywide Chinese New Year celebration starting Jan. 31.
City tourism officials also announced Wednesday that Chicago had record hotel occupancy in 2013 of more than 75 percent. That beats the previous record set in 2007.
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Photo credit: Chicago's famous "Bean" structure in Millennial Park. Ed Yourdon / Flickr