Economic Impact of Tourism

Travelers to Wisconsin spent 1.2 percent more in 2003 than in 2002. The increase isn't as high as many state officials had hoped, and tourism secretary Jim Holperin says that's thanks to a number of reasons.

"In a time when the economy was flat, unemployment was up, energy prices were rising, we went to war in Iraq, there were security threats, we think 1.2 percent is a reasonable," says Holperin.

Central Wisconsin fared better than the state as a whole. Marathon County increased their tourism revenue by just over two percent.

Wausau Convention and Visitors Bureau president Darien Schaefer says, "Considering the economic climate that we're in and how we did compared to others in the state, we feel it's positive to be where we're at.”

Secretary Holperin says he'd like to see more cities invest in their future as a tourist stop. That means spending more money on local advertising and building destination stops like water parks and shopping centers.

Schaefer agrees, "We're off to a great start and some of our new facilities that are opening like the Lodge At Cedar Creek, we think that momentum will carry the rest of the year.”