The United States city of Chicago has seen a large spike in UK visitor numbers, reporting a 15.2 per cent increase in those visiting in 2018 compared with the year before.
Some 141,000 UK visitors came to Chicago last year, contributing to the total of 2.2 million international visitors in 2018.
These visits contribute significantly to the city’s 33 million overnight visitors who came to Chicago last year.
UK visitors have been attracted by, among other things, Chicago’s boom in new hotels.
Eight new hotels opened their doors in 2018, including Hotel Zachery, Moxy Hotel and Hilton Triplex.
More investment has continued in 2019; the city has raised its profile further with the addition of the Hoxton; and in 2020 Nobu Hotel will join the city’s line up of world-class hotels.
Chicago has also tracked well against other United States destinations based on figures from the national travel and tourism office.
Chicago experienced the fifth largest increase in international arrivals when measured against 13 of the largest airports in the US.
Chicago recorded a higher percentage increase than other major destinations such as New York, Atlanta and Miami.
“We are delighted to see overall growth in nine of our top 11 international arrival markets including the UK,” said David Whitaker, chief executive, Choose Chicago.
“The rate of growth outpaced many other popular U.S. destinations signalling Chicago’s emerging role as an international visitor hot-spot.
“As international travellers are looking for new and undiscovered places to explore and play, Chicago’s diversity of experiences is unmatched other than the diversity of travellers who are now visiting here.”
In 2018, Chicago set a new tourism record with 58.3 million visitors, 3.1 million more than the previous year.
This increase in travellers has also translated into increased hotel room occupancy.
In 2018, the City increased the number of rooms occupied by 4.3 percent to a total of 11.8 million rooms.
In total it is estimated that the tourism industry generated over $16 billion in overall tourism expenditures in 2018.