Wisconsin’s Tourism Economy Reaches $21.6 Billion

Posted on: 5/6/2019

MADISON, Wis. – Governor Tony Evers and Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes join Tourism Secretary-designee Sara Meaney this week in traveling throughout the state to highlight Wisconsin’s tourism economy, which reached $21.6 billion in 2018. The announcement comes as Governor Evers and Secretary-designee Meaney celebrate this year’s National Travel & Tourism Week with stops in Wausau, Stevens Point, Nekoosa, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Columbus and Milwaukee May 6-8.

"Wisconsin’s tourism industry plays a critically important role in our state’s economy,” said Governor Evers. “Investing in tourism means investing in Wisconsin. When we invest in protecting our state’s natural resources and promoting our state’s attractions and events, we ensure that economic development is a 72-county strategy in Wisconsin."

The tourism industry continues to show stable growth according to the latest economic impact figures. Last year, tourism supported over 199,000 jobs. Trips in Wisconsin topped 112 million in 2018, and visitors generated $1.6 billion in state and local revenue and $1.2 billion in federal taxes, saving Wisconsin taxpayers $680 per household. Additional economic impact findings, including individual county figures are also available online.

"Tourism in Wisconsin continues to see steady economic growth thanks to all of the individuals who work hard to advance the industry," said Tourism Secretary-designee Meaney. "We also see tremendous growth opportunities that will help us tell the story of Wisconsin and attract new travelers to explore some of our most unique offerings."

Recreation continues to be a top travel motivator for visitors to Wisconsin. Out of five categories, traveler spending on recreation experienced the fastest growth at 8% in 2018, followed by transportation at 6.5% and retail at 4.9%. Last year, tourism achieved a Return on Investment of 7 to 1: $7 in tax revenue per $1 in promotional spend.

National Travel & Tourism Week (May 5-11) is the annual salute to travel in America. During the first full week in May, communities nationwide unite around a common theme to showcase travel’s contributions to the economy and American jobs. Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes will also join Tourism Secretary-designee Meaney during stops in Grafton, Milwaukee and Green Bay. Deputy Secretary Anne Sayers will visit Oshkosh, Racine, Spring Green, Superior and Chippewa Falls in honor of National Travel & Tourism Week.

The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the state as the Midwest’s premier travel destination for fun. For more information, visit www.TravelWisconsin.com.