State tourism sales up 4 percent in 2013

Tourism made a $17.5 billion impact on business sales Wisconsin in 2013, up 4 percent over $16.8 billion in 2012, according to a report released by the state today.

The report, “The Economic Impact of Tourism in Wisconsin,” was commissioned by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and conducted by research firm Tourism Economics.

“The past three years have been outstanding for Wisconsin’s tourism industry,” said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett.  “The increased investment in tourism marketing has allowed us to expand our advertising campaigns and leverage celebrities with Wisconsin ties, bring in the nation’s top travel writers to experience our destinations, tap into international markets, and attract lucrative sporting events, meetings and conventions.”

The report also indicated that in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin’s biggest tourist draw, the business sales impact was $3 billion in 2013, up 4 percent over $2.9 billion in 2012. State and local taxes from tourism business was $210.7 million, up 3.7 percent over last year.

Full-time jobs in Milwaukee County that are supported by tourism totaled 30,375, up 1.3 percent from 2012 and the labor income from those jobs came to $1 billion, up 3.1 percent from 2012.

“After a very strong year in 2012, the tourism economy in the Greater Milwaukee area saw continued strong growth in 2013,” said Paul Upchurch, president and chief executive officer of VISIT Milwaukee.
VISIT Milwaukee hosted 288 conventions last year, up 9.9 percent from 2012, which brought more than 580,000 people to the area.

“The travel and hospitality industry continues to be an important and strong performing sector for Wisconsin’s economy,” said Gov. Scott 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.”

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