April 22, 2015

Mayor Emanuel and Choose Chicago Announce Record Tourism Demand for First Quarter 2015

Chicago’s Hotel Room Demand Reaches Historic Levels and Outpaces National Growth in All Key Performance Indicators

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Don Welsh, President and CEO of Choose Chicago today announced that Chicago saw record hotel performance in the first quarter of 2015, which ended March 31st. For the first time, hotel room demand surpassed two million rooms occupied and Chicago’s first quarter performance outpaced U.S. growth in all key performance indicators including Demand, Occupancy, Supply, Average Daily Rate, Revenue per Available Room (RevPar) and Revenue. It also places Chicago among the top three U.S. cities for key performance indicators growth, including Demand, Occupancy, RevPar and Revenue.

“Chicago’s tourism industry continues to drive growth in our city’s economy and create new jobs for city residents,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “These newest gains build on last year’s unprecedented growth in visitors and tourism in our city and as new events happen this year, we are excited to see records continue to fall as more visitors spend time in Chicago and bring more economic opportunities to more Chicagoans.”

Closing out the first quarter, March’s demand topped 828,000 room nights, extending Chicago’s record demand performance for a 12th consecutive month. The city’s 7.3 percent occupancy growth puts it ahead of competitive markets including Boston, New Orleans and Atlanta. Chicago also remains one of the fastest growing domestic markets for new hotel development with record hotel performance continuing even as the city gained an additional 38,000 room nights following the opening of Virgin Hotels Chicago and the Loews Chicago hotel in the first three months of the year.

“Setting hotel performance records month after month paired with new demand generators such as the NFL Draft, James Beard Awards and Microsoft Ignite puts Chicago on pace to realize another successful year,” said Welsh. “We expect to see continued growth during an already vibrant convention season.”

Chicago’s visitor industry is directly responsible for continued growth in jobs, direct spending and tax revenue. In February, Mayor Emanuel announced that in 2014, Chicago broke the 50 million visitor mark for the first time– five years ahead of the goal set just two years ago when the Mayor consolidated three tourism agencies and launched the new Choose Chicago. Chicago set a new visitation record of 50.2 million visitors, a 3.5 percent increase over 2013, and has increased its tourism related employment by adding more than 9,000 jobs since 2011. The first quarter 2015 performance records builds on that with record hotel and city tax revenue, recording double-digit growth of 16.5 percent. Demand and supply also hit record performance in the first quarter, up by 8.5 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Last week, Mayor Emanuel and Choose Chicago announced the launch of the city’s first national tourism destination marketing campaign, #ChicagoEpic, and the return of the James Beard Foundation Awards to Chicago in 2016 and 2017.

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