Power of Tourism

The Power of Tourism


Bookmark this page or download this handy fact sheet, just in case there’s ever a question in your mind about tourism’s impact on the vitality of Wisconsin’s economy.

Tourism Works for Wisconsin

  • Tourism had a $20.6 billion impact on the state's economy in 2017, up $631 million or 3.2% from $20 billion in 2016.
  • The total seven-year growth of tourism activity is up more than $5.8 billion, a nearly 40% increase from $14.8 billion.
  • Visitor growth topped 110 million in 2017, a seven-year increase of 17.5 million.
  • The tourism economy generated $1.5 billion in state and local revenue and $1.2 billion in federal taxes. Without tourism, each Wisconsin household would pay an additional $660 to maintain existing services.
  • Tourism directly and indirectly supports 195,255 jobs in Wisconsin, a seven-year addition of more than 23,255 jobs to the state's total employment.

Marketing to Grow Tourism

  • The Wisconsin Department of Tourism unveiled two new marketing campaigns, both highlighting how we welcomes visitors to experience fun in the state.
  • Tourism generates a positive impression of the state, which is critical for economic development. According to Longwoods International, Wisconsin ranks #1 among its Midwest competitors, in fun, family-friendliness, affordability, and a welcoming, worry-free atmosphere.
  • For every $1 the Department spent on its ad campaigns in 2017, $7 was returned to state and local governments in incremental tax revenue.
  • Our public relations efforts generated an all-time high of $143 million in free press in 2017. Since 2011, the Department has secured over $559 million in free press.

Tourism Grant Programs

  • In fiscal 2017, the Department funded 61 Joint Effort Marketing projects, awarding a total of more than $1.1 million. Visitor expenditures driven by the marketing from these projects will exceed $34 million.
  • Projects receiving "Ready, Set, Go" sports marketing grants in fiscal 2017 are expected to drive an estimated $33 million in visitor spending.
  • The estimated future economic impact of Meetings Mean Business grants funded in fiscal 2017 is $2.36 million.
  • Nearly one million travelers were served by 18 tourism information centers receiving grants from the Department’s Tourist Information Center (TIC) Grant program.