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Wisconsin Tourism Industry Continues Growth in 2012

Press Release

Location: Madison, WI

For the millions of travelers visiting 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. In 2012, a 5 percent growth in the tourism economy translated to an increase in tourism-related employment and personal income, according to just released economic impact figures. Wisconsin Economic Impact 2013 That's the message being delivered today by Governor Scott Walker and Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett as they kick off this year's National Travel and Tourism Week, May 4-12, with stops at popular Wisconsin attractions around the state.

"The travel and hospitality industry continues to be a strong performing sector for Wisconsin's economy," said Governor Walker. "Investing in tourism promotion and marketing at the national, state, and local level is an effective way to attract visitors and keep the economy growing."

Key Results
Tourism had a total impact of $16.8 billion on the state last year compared to $16 billion in 2011, a 5 percent increase, according to Tourism Economics, the research firm commissioned by the Department of Tourism. Since 2010, the state's tourism economy has experienced a 13 percent growth from $14.8 billion. Other industry indicators included strong day traveler growth pushing recreational spending up 7 percent and a 2.7 percent daily rate increase at Wisconsin lodging properties, which helped grow overall hotel room revenue by 4.6 percent.

Tourism supports nearly 184,000 jobs and $4.5 billion in personal income. Fully one in 13 jobs in Wisconsin relies on tourism, and employment supported by tourism grew by 1.4 percent last year. Visitors generated $1.3 billion in state and local revenue and $977 million in federal taxes in 2012, saving Wisconsin taxpayers nearly $575 per household. Individual county information figures are also available. Wisconsin County Economic Impact

"The past two years have seen outstanding growth for Wisconsin's tourism industry," said Secretary Klett. "The increased investment in tourism marketing, our effective "fun' campaign, and our industry-wide collaborations have pumped $2 billion into the state's economy since the beginning of 2011."

Marketing Translates into Travelers

According to Longwoods International, for every $1 the Department spent on its $3.8 million 2012 summer and fall advertising campaign, $6 was returned to state and local governments in incremental tax revenue. The Department received a nearly 20 percent increase in appropriation for the 2012-2013 biennium, which helped increase awareness of the Department's advertising campaigns from 53 percent in 2010 to 58 percent in 2012.

New Marketing Campaigns Generating Attention and Winning Awards

Last month's debut of the Department's 2013 summer TV ad, "The Lake," from Hollywood director David Zucker and actor Robert Hays, received widespread positive response including a rave review from The Huffington Post, which called it the "worlds' greatest tourism ad." The new ad along with the complete summer campaign, which includes two additional TV spots plus print, digital, outdoor, and radio executions are available online. The Department's public relations, social media, and marketing efforts have garnered 13 national and international awards and recognitions since early 2012.

Developed by Laughlin-Constable, the summer television and radio campaign launches the week of May 20 and will run in markets across Wisconsin, northern Illinois, the Twin Cities, and in eastern Iowa. In addition, Michigan residents will be targeted with an outdoor billboard campaign.

Tourism Economics is an Oxford Economics company providing analyses of the tourism sector. Longwoods International is a globally recognized leader in travel research, with over 30 years of experience with a hospitality client list, including Michigan, Ohio, Philadelphia, and Canada.

The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the state as the Midwest's premier travel destination for fun by executing industry-leading marketing programs and establishing strategic partnerships. The Department plays a significant role in generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. The portal for traveler information can be found at

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