Bring your meetings home to Milwaukee

    At last month’s Governor’s Conference on Tourism held in Milwaukee, Gov. Jim Doyle and Tourism Secretary Kelli Trumble announced a new initiative to encourage state-based companies (and those with significant operations here) to make a concerted effort to keep their company’s conventions, trade shows, training sessions and meetings in Wisconsin.

    Dubbed, “Meetings Mean Business for Wisconsin,” this economic development effort is aimed at growing jobs and tax revenues for the state.

    Since Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsin and has the capabilities of accommodating the largest variety of groups (large and small), we’ve aggressively embraced this program and are working with area businesses to make sure they know the many benefits of keeping meetings local and how Visit Milwaukee can work with them to handle all of the logistics.

    The Milwaukee area has the facilities to accommodate groups of all sizes, from those that require the size and capabilities of the Frontier Airlines Convention Center, to meetings that will fit into one of our hotels or many other off-site venues.

    The Milwaukee area also provides value for the meeting dollar and organizations that keep their events local can stretch their meetings budget and should be acknowledged for their prudent use of corporate funds.

    Keeping your meetings local is a great way to support and grow the area’s $2.7 billion annual tourism economy. In fact, a recent study by the global research firm Oxford Economics found that for every dollar invested in business travel, companies realize $12.50 in increased revenue and $3.80 in new profits. Meetings and events are directly responsible for 300,000 jobs in Wisconsin.

    Prior to the recession, meetings and conventions were the fastest growing segment of the state’s tourism sector. It’s time to work together to support the approximately 66,000 people who work in this industry locally and begin again to grow this part of our economy. This can only happen if you make the decision to convene in our community.

    Do you want to do your part to stimulate the economy? Contact Visit Milwaukee ( and work with us to keep and bring conventions and meetings to the Milwaukee area. It’s about the only investment I can think of that has a guaranteed return!


    Paul Upchurch is president and chief executive officer of Visit Milwaukee.

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