For the nearly 97 million travelers that visited Wisconsin it’s all about the fun and memories, but for the state’s taxpayers and residents, it’s all about the jobs and tax revenue those travelers support. A study conducted by Tourism Economics shows that impact of tourism on the state’s economy was $16.8 billion in 2012, up 5% from the previous year.
Tourism growth in Lincoln County has continually been on the rise over the past three year’s thanks in part to aggressive advertising and marketing efforts by the Merrill and Tomahawk Chambers of Commerce. They have partnered with each other and with other Northwoods counties to market the fun in the Northwoods. They have also each aggressively marketed their communities and the county through numerous websites and sports, tourism and activity shows. Merrill has also been very aggressive in magazine and publication advertising that reaches numerous metropolitan areas and several other states.
Locally, travelers to Lincoln County spent $48.9 million in 2012. Among the contributing factors for local tourism growth was a new destination marketing campaign that focused on the area’s unique natural resources and activities and events designed for all types of travelers from the antique hunters to the B&B seekers to those looking for relaxation and pampering to the back to nature enthusiasts wanting to commune with the wild outdoors.
“Tourism plays a critical role in our community and continues to grow, and from an economic standpoint, the numbers reflect that,” said Debbe Kinsey, Merrill Chamber of Commerce executive director. “Last year’s numbers are very encouraging and we hope to capitalize on this momentum in the coming summer season with a strong promotional campaign that defines our brand and targets potential visitors with a message that resonates.”
And the Merrill Chamber of Commerce has already hit the road with brand new advertising and events for the summer and fall seasons. Summer advertising has already gone to print in several travel guides/magazines and on a new Motorcycle Tour Map that includes great Merrill getaways such as the Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo, the Lincoln County Fair, Gazebo Nights, Labor Day Car Show, Barleyfest and a new event for 2013 – Pork in the Park, a local rib fest contest.
Statewide, traveler spending generated $1.3 billion in state and local revenue and $977 million in federal taxes.
“The past two years have been outstanding for Wisconsin’s tourism industry and the two-year $2 billion growth that is reported in the research confirms what we hear from businesses and destinations as I travel the state,” said Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. “Investing in tourism promotion and marketing at both the state and local level is an effective way to attract visitors, enhance the state’s image and keep the economy growing.”
The Department of Tourism worked with a national research firm Longwoods International and Tourism Economics to produce the reports.