Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Touts Record-Breaking Tourism Numbers as New South Loop Hotel Breaks Ground

The city's tourism industry has increased by 6 percent since 2011, with 136,000 jobs now in the industry

With Lollapalooza just days away and the haze just clearing from July's Grateful Dead concerts at Soldier Field, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced record-breaking tourism numbers in Chicago this year.

The city's tourism industry has increased by 6 percent since 2011, with 136,000 jobs now in the industry, according to the mayor's office.

Furthermore, the hotel industry in the city is booming, thanks to events such as the Grateful Dead concerts and the NFL Draft. In the first half of 2015, 72.4 percent of all Chicago hotels were occupied, according to the mayor's office.

The hotel tax revenue has also doubled in the last five years amounting to nearly $56 million so far this year, the mayor's office said.

"I've talked to a number of hotel operators in the last few weeks, and I'm going to see a couple this weekend, and they all say this is the best time they've had in 10 years," former Ald. Bob Fioretti said.

A day after the tourism numbers were released, Mayor Emanuel attended a groundbreaking Tuesday at the new Marriott Marquis Chicago Hotel, located across the street from McCormick Place in the South Loop. The new building will stand more than 50 stories high and include a 10,000-seat arena for DePaul University Athletics. The hotel is expected to be open in time for tourist season in summer 2017.

The mayor said the new hotel will help keep Chicago on top of the tourism industry nationwide.

"Not only will this project create thousands of new jobs for Chicago residents during construction and upon its completion, but it will spur hundreds of millions of dollars of additional investment into the historic Motor Row and the Near South Side," Emanuel said.

The hotel project is part of the mayor's "Elevate Chicago" initiative to enhance the city's tourism industry.

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