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Illinois' tourism numbers are highest on record

According to new state data, the lines for favorite tourist attractions around Illinois were longer this year.

Illinois’ tourism industry generated about $32 billion in revenue in 2011, the highest on record, according to figures released on Monday by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Department officials say the figures mean the tourism industry has returned to pre-recession levels.

Randy Stancik, the general manager at Skydeck Chicago, said the popular tourist spot atop Willis Tower has seen the same kind of growth.

“We’ve been waiting for this for many years. We’ve been waiting for, you know, for people to bounce back, to continue to travel,” Stancik said. “Even if times are a little bit tougher they’re getting better, you know we’ve been seeing that over the last three years. It’s been a growth for us.

Department officials say Illinois is now the ninth most visited state in the country, up one spot from last year.

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