Travel and Tourism

Fast Facts

Across the Country…

Travel and tourism is a $740 billion industry in the United States.

It ranks fifth among 20 major private industry sectors, behind only retail, manufacturing, health and administrative sectors.

Most U.S. travel is for leisure purposes (74%). Travel for business accounts for the remaining one-quarter of domestic trip activity (26%).

Despite a 17-percent decline in overseas travel to the U.S., international travelers overall spent more in the country than U.S. travelers spent while traveling abroad, creating a “travel trade surplus” for the American economy of $8.3 billion.

Source: Travel Industry Association of America,


In the State of Illinois…

  • In 2007, Illinois welcomed nearly 89 million domestic visitors, 20.5 million for business and nearly 68.2 million for leisure purposes.
  • More than 1.1 million overseas visitors traveled to Illinois in 2007, making it the sixth most popular U.S. state. The top five markets for international visitors to Illinois were Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany and Japan.
  • Domestic and international travelers directly spent more than $29.9 billion in Illinois during 2007. Domestic travelers in Illinois spent $27.9 billion, while international travelers spent about $2 billion.
  • Traveler expenditures directly generated 305,460 jobs in Illinois in 2007. Travel-generated jobs comprised 5.1 percent of total non-farm employment in the state during 2007. 
  • Travel spending in Illinois in 2007 generated over $5.4 billion in tax revenues for federal, state and local governments. 
  • Twenty of Illinois’ 102 counties received more than $100 million in domestic travel expenditures in 2007. Seventeen counties indicated 1,000 or more jobs directly supported by domestic travelers’ expenditures.
  • On average, leisure visitors to Illinois spent $129 per person per day. The total average amount spent daily in Illinois businesses is nearly $82 million.

Source: 2007 Economic Impact of Illinois Tourism,


Largest Tourist Attractions in the Chicago Area


  1. Navy Pier
  2. Millennium Park
  3. Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.
  4. Lincoln Park Zoo
  5. Six Flags Great America
  6. Brookfield Zoo
  7. Sears Tower Skydeck
  8. John Hancock Observatory


  1. John G. Shedd Aquarium
  2. Museum of Science of Industry
  3. Art Institute of Chicago
  4. Field Museum
  5. Chicago Cultural Center
  6. Chicago Children’s Museum
  7. Chicago Botanic Garden
  8. Morton Arboretum
  9. Chicago Architecture Foundation
  10. Adler Planetarium and Astronomy
  11. Kohl Children’s Museum Inc.
  12. DuPage Children’s Museum
  13. Museum of Contemporary Art
  14. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
  15. Chicago History Museum

Source: Crain’s Chicago Business