Visit Milwaukee campaign targets foreign travelers

Group aims to boost international tourism

Visit Milwaukee is trying to attract more foreign business and leisure travelers to Milwaukee through a marketing campaign that involves translating a “bucket list” of area attractions into 10 languages and hosting foreign journalists.


The bucket list highlights 15 local attractions including the Milwaukee Art Museum, Discovery World, the Harley-Davidson Museum and the city’s many brewery tours. It’s been translated into German, Spanish, French, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Polish.

The international campaign is in its initial stages, but spokesperson Kristin Settle said it’s already been successful.

For example, she said, the Chicago Tribune published a story on July 16 with the headline: “Chinese travel blogger likes Chicago, but loves Milwaukee.”

The travel writer, Jun Song, reaches 55 million blog visitors in China.

The headline is priceless,” Settle said. “You can’t pay for this kind of publicity.”

Though Settle said its difficult to track data on the number of foreign tourists visiting Milwaukee, she can track the number of foreign journalists writing about the city. In the past two years, 22 foreign travel journalists have visited Milwaukee and 53 articles have been published in international publications about the city.

“The city’s strong ethnic heritage, increased international business, and world famous attractions such as the Harley-Davidson Museum and Milwaukee Art Museum are bringing in growing numbers of people from around the world,” said Paul Upchurch, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee.

Visit Milwaukee plans to translate more tourism information into the 10 language groups online and expand its international push.

“Milwaukee’s international reputation is growing, both as a leisure destination on beautiful Lake Michigan and as home to major international corporations,” Upchurch said. “Although many visitors have a general knowledge of English, they appreciate a city that goes the extra mile to welcome them in their own language. We want to ensure that their visit is a great one.”


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Ben Stanley, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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