Central Wisconsin tourism plays large role in setting state revenue record

The state's tourism industry generated a record-breaking $23.7 billion in total economic impact
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 9:58 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2023 at 11:33 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wisconsin Department of Tourism released 2022 economic impact data showing the tourism industry generated a record-breaking $23.7 billion in total economic impact, with Langlade County playing a pivotal role by contributing $77 million in total economic impact.

“With all the recreational assets that Langlade County has to offer, the County of Trails was an attraction for visitors and locals to escape outdoors,” said Keri Beck, Langlade County Economic Development Corporation’s assistant director. “Visitors to Langlade County enjoyed over 200,000 acres of public land, more 650 miles of motorized trails, and more than 300 miles of silent sports trails, plus many other outdoor activities.”

The 2022 total economic impact surpassed the previous statewide record of $22.2 billion set in 2019. Langlade County also surpassed its previous record of $48.8 million in 2021.

“The 2021 numbers are very encouraging and we capitalize on that momentum in 2022,” added Beck. “We hope to continue this momentum this year.”

Langlade County Economic Development Corporation was awarded a Destination Marketing Organization grant in 2022 to help market the County of Trails. Through this grant, and the City of Antigo Room Tax dollars collected, the Langlade County Tourism website was upgraded to add an itinerary builder and other user-friendly features.

This year Marathon County played a major role in that record-setting tourism growth.

Nearly a half-billion dollars was generated here last year.

In 2022 there were over 100 million people who visited the state of Wisconsin. That’s an increase of 8.7 percent from the previous year for a total impact of 23-point-7 billion dollars. Marathon County generated 459-million dollars...almost a 14-percent increase from the 403-million in 2021.

“We are doing hard work of raising that awareness of all the outdoor rec activities that Wausau offers,” says Tim White, Executive Director. White credits record tourism to the amount of people visiting Wausau.

“This area brings it’s not just the Northwoods we have that feel that vibe, but we also have those comforts that’s makes us Wisconsin’s outdoor base camp.”

Events like Wausau 24-- which is the Midwest’s largest 24-hour mountain bike race-- draws people to Marathon County the last weekend in July.

“Whether it’s the restaurant scene, arts scene, that helps compliment what we do on the trail, they come here for a great restaurant for good retail and experience the other things that Wausau has to offer,” says Jahn Martin, Co-Owner of Wausau 24.

Mark Blaubach is the administrator of Central Wisconsin Fun and Adventure club. He thinks it’s a good sign of outsiders beginning to take notice of what Wausau has to offer.

“I think Wausau is unique in that it offers some many different outdoor opportunities, it’s one of the few places in the Midwest where you actually have a mountain, so you can live in Wausau and have a resort type recreation opportunity without having to leave home,” Blaubach said.

To find out more about things to do in Marathon County and Wausau, you can visit www.co.marathon.wi.us and www.visitwausau.com.

To find out more about the County of Trails, visit www.langladecounty.org.