Story by 89 WLS Web Writer Kim Rasmussen
Governor Pat Quinn is meeting with travel officials in Mexico City today to promote tourism in Illinois. This is part of Quinn's trade mission to Mexico, continuing his agenda to drive Illinois' economy forward and create jobs.
"Mexico is Illinois' third-largest international market for visitors to our state, with 100,000 arriving by plane alone each year," Quinn said. "But we can't stop now, and this mission will strengthen our economy by increasing the number of Mexican tourists to Illinois."
Illinois and Mexico have strong social ties, with 1.6 million Mexicans living in Illinois, making up 12.5 percent of the state's population. The potential for Mexican travel to the U.S. is expected to grow 17 percent by 2017.
"Mexico is critical to our tourism sales, marketing and public relations strategy," Choose Chicago President and CEO Don Welsh said. "Visitation out of this market i essential as we continue to work toward Mayor Emanuel's two key goals for leisure tourism - to grow annual visitation to exceed 50 million visitors annually, and to elevate Chicago to be among the top five mostpopular US cities for international travel."
More than 90 million travelers visit Illinois every year, supporting more than 290,000 jobs. The Illinois tourism industry generated a record $31.8 billion in 2011, up 8.4 percent from the pervious year. The 2012 results, to be released this summer, are expected to show another strong year.
© Content Copyright 2013 WLS Radio 890AM and WLSAM.com. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.