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Chicago Tourism Numbers: Both City And State Tallied Record Number Of Visitors Last Year

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SEARS TOWER
"The Ledge," at the Sears Tower is among the tourist attractions that helped Chicago tally a record number of visitors in 2012. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File) | AP

The numbers are in, and as predicted, the Windy City had a record-setting year for tourism in 2012.

Back in June, city officials said Chicago saw a near-record 46.2 million visitors last year. With international tourism numbers confirmed, the official tally comes to a revised total of 46.37 million people.

Crain's Chicago Business says the city boosted advertising in countries like Brazil, China and Britain as part of a plan to fulfill Mayor Rahm Emanuel's goal of welcoming 50 million people annually by 2020. As the Tribune reports, the biggest gains in international visitors came from Asian and Latino countries.

“These record-breaking numbers show that the economic engine of tourism in Illinois is firing on all cylinders," Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement.

According to 2012 numbers from across the state, Illinois also saw more than 100 million visitors a year for the first time ever. More than 2 million of those visitors were from outside the U.S. according to NBC 13. Illinois officials said the tourism dollars the state pulled in helped create 300,000 jobs statewide.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Illinois increased its tourism volume by 11 percent to place it sixth overall among the top states visited by overseas travelers -- behind Nevada, Hawaii, California, Florida and New York.

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