Chicago sees record number of overseas visitors

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago saw a record number of international visitors last year as the city ramped up a campaign to promote itself as a business and tourism destination.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday that the city welcomed 1.3 million international visitors in 2012. That's up 14 percent from the year before.

Much of the growth was from Asian and South American markets, where the Choose Chicago campaign has focused on selling the city as a top tourism, convention and business destination.

The mayor's office says the increase has helped support record hotel construction this year as well as a hotel occupancy rate of more than 73 percent, the best rate the recession.

According to Emanuel's office, that hotel occupancy has produced more than $1 billion of revenue so far in 2013.