Fun is the No. 1 leisure travel motivator and based on research released by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, more visitors are having fun on vacation in Wisconsin than ever before.
A study conducted by Tourism Economics shows that impact of tourism on the state’s economy was $16 billion in 2011, up 8 percent from the previous year.
Locally, travelers to the Waupaca area spent an estimated $28 million in 2011.
“Tourism plays a critical role in our community as one of our largest economic drivers and it increases the quality of life for our area residents.” said Jeff Anderson, tourism director with the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce. “Our fall and winter numbers show an increase in lodging expenditures of 14 percent and we hope to capitalize on this momentum in the coming summer season.”
According to AAA, the rising gas prices are likely to encourage Americans to visit tourist sites closer to home instead of longer haul travel to further destinations.
“The Waupaca area is well positioned to take advantage of this trend with the majority of our visitors coming from the Fox Cities, Milwaukee and Chicago; these are the areas where we have invested our summer advertising dollars.” Anderson said.
Statewide, traveler spending generated $1.3 billion in state and local revenue and $950 million in federal taxes. Without the state and local taxes generated by tourism, each Wisconsin household would pay nearly $565 to maintain the current level of government services.
“2011 was a banner year for the tourism industry in the state. Additional marketing dollars got us back in the advertising game and helped us compete successfully for tourism dollars with our Upper Midwest competitors,” said Wisconsin Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. “Last year’s advertising campaign generated a 6-to-1 return on investment. For every $1 we spent on advertising, the state received $6 in tax revenues. Tourism marketing does work.”
The Wisconsin Department of Tourism worked with a national research firm, Longwoods International and Tourism Economics, to produce the reports.