Chicago, Jan 12 :The third largest U.S. city of Chicago welcomed more than 57.6 million visitors in 2018, including more tourists from China, setting a new tourism record.
That's a growth of 4.3 percent over the previous year, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Friday at the city's main convention center -- McCormick Place.
"When it comes to attracting tourists and business travelers, Chicago can go toe-to-toe with any city in the world," said Emanuel.
"By continuing to set new tourism records and bring millions more people to Chicago every year, we are creating jobs and economic opportunities that reach every neighborhood," he added.
According to data collected from arriving non-stop international flights, there was an important increase in international travelers to Chicago in 2018.
For the first 11 months of 2018, the most increasing visitors were from Brazil, United Kingdom, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Canada and China.
"The diversity of our visitors continues to grow as we welcome more and more people both from around the U.S. and increasingly around the world," said David Whitaker, President & CEO of Choose Chicago, the city's tourism promotion agency.
Chicago welcomed 2.1 percent more visitors from China than the same period in 2017. Choose Chicago has set up tourism promotion offices in several big Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu.
In recent years, Choose Chicago has co-sponsored Chinese New Year activities in the city. For the upcoming lunar Year of the Pig, Chicago will also mark the occasion with a city-wide celebration.
The Chicago Symphony Center will literally ring in the Chinese New Year with its fifth annual celebration concert on Feb. 10, with Hubei Chime Bells National Chinese Orchestra and the China National Beijing Opera Company.
The traditional Chicago Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade is another important event that usually attracts tens of thousands spectators.
Alipay and WeChat Pay, China's two most popular mobile payment platforms, have also found their partners in Chicago's tourism industry. Chicago 360-degree viewing platform and the Windra cruise ship company, are among the local businesses that enable Chinese tourists to buy tickets with their cell phones. (XINHUA-UNI)