MADISON -- Gov. Tony Evers, together with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, announced today that Wisconsin tourism spending grew in September at the highest rate in more than two years. According to preliminary data released by the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) and Tourism Economics, visitor spending in Wisconsin grew 5.9 percent in September 2022 compared to September 2019. This was the largest gain of any month since the start of the coronavirus pandemic when compared to the same month in 2019, which was Wisconsin’s best year on record for visitor spending.
Since 2020, Gov. Evers has invested more than $1 billion of Wisconsin’s federal funds in economic resilience, including small businesses and other industries impacted by the pandemic, more than $200 million of which was invested in the travel and tourism, hotels and lodging, and entertainment industries alone. A recent analysis of state allocations under the American Rescue Plan Act showed that, as a share of federal aid received by states, Wisconsin is the top state in the country for aid directed to overall economic development and the top state in the country in aid directed to assist businesses.
“Wisconsin’s travel and tourism industry plays a huge role in our local and statewide economies, creating jobs, helping promote local businesses, and generating billions of dollars in economic impact annually,” said Gov. Evers. “I’m proud of the critical investments we’ve made in our travel and tourism industry over the past two years. From event promotion and marketing to support for small businesses, restaurants, and live event venues, these investments helped ensure folks in the industry had the tools and resources to do what they do best, and this continued growth and success is a testament to their good work.”
Additionally, according to USTA, Wisconsin also matched the national average of tourism spending for the month and outpaced most of its neighboring competitors, including Minnesota (-1), Illinois (+0.2), and Michigan (+5.3), when compared to themselves in 2019.
“When I travel the state, I’m always impressed by the deep commitment of our tourism folks in making Wisconsin a one-of-a-kind, welcoming destination,” said Tourism Secretary-designee Anne Sayers. “Our September numbers are a validation of the work being done by the entire tourism industry and the data-driven, innovative team at Travel Wisconsin. Tourism drives economic impact in every corner of Wisconsin, and there’s no better benchmark to beat than the record-setting 2019.”
Economic impact data for 2021, released in June, showed tourism generated $20.9 billion in total economic impact—a 21 percent increase from 2020—and supported more than 169,000 full- and part-time jobs. For more data, including individual county figures and year-over-year growth, visit industry.travelwisconsin.com.