For the travelers that helped Wisconsin achieve a nearly $1 billion increase in tourism economic impact in 2015, it’s all about the fun and memories. For the state’s tourism industry, it’s big business. And for taxpayers and residents, it’s all about jobs and tax revenue those travelers generate. A study conducted by Tourism Economics shows the impact of tourism on the state’s economy was $19.3 billion in 2015, an increase of 4.4 percent from the previous year.
“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 CEO. “Last year’s numbers are very encouraging with increases in Lincoln County business sales, direct visitor spending, jobs and tax revenue. Part of the reason for continued increases is our very aggressive marketing with a campaign that defines our brand and targets potential visitors with a message that resonates.”
With Merrill being the “City of Parks,” Kinsey defined the brand with a tag line of “Just Park It” due to the 6,300 acres of parkland located within Merrill. “It’s fun and attractive in advertisements,” concluded Kinsey. “It also helps that we participate in Discover Wisconsin television programming and that Travel Wisconsin named us the 2nd Most Charming Community along Wisconsin rivers.”
Statewide, traveler spending generated $1.5 billion in state and local revenue and $1.1billion in federal taxes.
“These results let us know that what we have been doing over the last five years is working,” said Wisconsin Secretary of Tourism Stephanie Klett. “It’s a tremendous credit to the tourism industry in all 72 counties and the innovative work they do to create exciting vacation experiences, market their destinations under our united brand of fun, and provide great customer service that makes travelers want to return to Wisconsin time and again.”
Tourism continues to be one of Wisconsin’s most important economic resources. Research continues to shows that tourism advertising goes beyond just promoting vacations, it also positively influences the state’s overall image as a great place to live, find a job, or open a business.”
The Department of Tourism worked with a national research firm Tourism Economics and Longwoods International to produce the reports.