Chicago last week said its hotel occupancy tax is up by 4.9% so far this year after an especially strong September.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel portrayed the increase as evidence that the city’s economy is improving and it is drawing more tourism. “We have reached new heights in our tourism industry, which is expanding our economy and driving the creation of new jobs,” he said.

The average daily rate is up 5.9% at $183.21. Occupancy was up in September to 86.2% from 79.7% a year earlier for an 8.1% increase. Officials attributed some of the overall increase to an increase in convention business.

The city levies a 4.5% hotel room tax with revenues flowing to city coffers. The tax’s health is also watched closely by the city because Chicago’s share of state income taxes are tapped should revenues generated by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority’s hotel tax fall short of what’s needed to repay $400 million of Soldier Field renovation bonds.

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