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A Record 33.04 million Domestic and Overseas Travelers
Visited Chicago in 2005 – Up 3.5% over 2004
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(Chicago) June 1, 2006 – The Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau (CCTB) and the Chicago Office of Tourism (COT) announced today that Chicago surpassed a national travel forecast for an increase in 2005 visitor volume.  According to data released by the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau (CCTB), a record 33.04 million domestic and overseas travelers visited Chicago in 2005 – an increase of 3.5% over 2004.

Domestic business and leisure travel experienced a marked increase over 2004.  In 2005, Chicago welcomed 13.78 million business travelers -- a 4.3% increase over the 13.21 million travelers in 2004.  Leisure travel also showed healthy gains with 18.17 million travelers – a 2.3% increase over 2004.  Overseas travel volume remained strong with a significant increase of 15% over 2004 to 1.08 million travelers exceeding the Travel Industry Association of America’s (TIA) forecast for a 7% increase.  

“This is good news for the 130,000 Chicagoans who work for hotels, restaurants, attractions and other businesses that serve our visitors,” said Mayor Richard M. Daley. “People love coming to Chicago, and their expenditures ripple through the entire regional economy.”

Chicago hotels benefited from the increase in visitors with an overall occupancy of 72.2% -- an increase of 2.27% over 2004 and the highest since 2000.  Overall weekend occupancy reached 80.6% -- up 1.09% over 2004.

“Chicago is one of the world’s few true global cities,” said Tim Roby, CCTB president.  “Its rich tourism assets and premier meeting facilities resonate with travelers all over the world making it an essential destination for business and leisure travelers.”

Added Dorothy Coyle, Director of the Chicago Office of Tourism, “People are drawn to Chicago to experience the incredible cultural offerings that are unique to our city. Millennium Park has elevated Chicago’s profile worldwide.”

Early indicators suggest Chicago will again see an increase in visitors during 2006 despite TIA’s prediction for flat travel volume during this time.  

A variety of factors will have significant impact on the success of 2006.  The overall economic turnaround and Chicago’s hotel occupancy rates continue to grow along with the city’s meetings and convention business at McCormick Place. The success of Chicago’s seasonal tourism promotion, Winter Delights, during January and February has already resulted in a 5% increase for the leisure market.

Through May of this year, an estimated 132,500 million room nights have been occupied – a 14.8% increase over the same period in 2005.

Sources:  D.K. Shifflet Associates, Ltd., Smith Travel Research, Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau

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Contact:

Meghan Risch 
CCTB
312-567-8540

Joyce Rowe
Chicago Office of Tourism
312-742-2036

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Also See: Chicago Losing Ground in Convention Battle; Drops to No. 3 in the National Ranking for the First Time / May 2006
In 2004, Las Vegas Hosted 38 of the Nation's 200 Largest Trade Shows, Second-place Chicago Hosted 18 and Third-ranked Orlando Hosted 18 / May 2005


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