CHICAGO — City tourism has fully rebounded from the great recession of 2008, according to the Emanuel administration.
The Mayor's Office and the Choose Chicago city tourism agency say hotel occupancy set an April record last month at 78.8 percent, topping the previous record of 78.2 percent set in 2008 and up 3.1 percent over last year's 76.4 percent.
The average daily rate for a Chicago hotel room also rose 4.2 percent from last year to $183 a night. Overall, April hotel revenues increased from $139 million a year ago to $151 million this year.
"I am laser focused on attracting visitors to Chicago, for business and pleasure," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "These numbers show a city that is moving in the right direction in this critical area, and I look forward to welcoming more and more visitors to our wonderful city and the positive economic impact they bring."
Choose Chicago head Don Welsh was quick to take credit. "Our advertising and promotional efforts are working," he said. "We are off to a great start for this year and we are looking forward to a strong spring and summer. If this positive trend continues we will have a great year for tourism."
City hotels have taken in an estimated $427 million so far in 2013, a record for the first third of the year. Total occupancy year to date is 64.2 percent, up 1.7 percent from last year and close to the record set in 2007.
Emanuel and Welsh point out the higher occupancy also comes as the city is adding hotel rooms. The city has an estimated 35,000 rooms, with an additional 2,500 under construction.