SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — State officials say Illinois set another record for tourism before the coronavirus pandemic essentially shut down normal life around the world.

The Illinois Office of Tourism Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity that the state welcomed 120 million visitors in 2019. That was the ninth consecutive year that Illinois saw tourism growth.

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Officials noted that COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, has devastated the tourism industry and shuttered schools, businesses and required people to stay at home for periods.

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The U.S. Travel Association estimates that tourists spent $43.1 billion in Illinois last year.

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