It's not like we didn't already know it, but Illinois is a great place to visit.
Apparently, words gotten out. Just ask all of the tourists who spent a record-setting $30.8 billion here in 2008. That's nearly $84 million a day across the state, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
Uhm. Who said the economy is in bad shape?
Officials from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity were all too happy to bask in the financial-boom glory Monday at the new Modern Wing of The Art Institute of Chicago.
Our thanks should go to all of those international visitors who here to spend time -- and apparently -- a lot of money. Retail shopping was up more than 29 percent last year.
"Tourism remains a powerful driver in the Illinois economy," Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Warren Ribley said. “Visitors are staying in our state longer and spending more of their money than ever before, creating good jobs for the hard-working people of our state.”
Last year, the travel industry generated 303,500 jobs for the state.
Illinois is the 6th most popular state for overseas visitors, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.