I’m pleased to share that the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, Sawyer County, WI USA was recently awarded $37,198.53 from the Tourism Relief to Accelerate Vitality and Economic Lift (TRAVEL) Stimulus Grant Program. We are one of 158 organizations benefiting from the TRAVEL grant program, which was designed to help Wisconsin’s tourism promotion and development organizations resume business operations and restore economic activity stemming from the COVID-19 public health emergency. The effort is funded through the state’s discretionary federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars.
Every tourism business closure is a reminder of COVID-19’s devastation upon Wisconsin’s tourism economy, which just one year ago had its best year on record. In 2019, the Wisconsin tourism industry hosted over 113.2 million visits statewide generating an estimated $22.2 billion in economic impact, including $1.6 billion in state and local tax revenue and 202,217 full- and part-time jobs. At a more local level in Sawyer County, travelers spent $92 million in 2019 and supported 993 of full- and part-time jobs.
This grant is not only a reflection of the need for funding due to the severe disruptions COVID-19 has had on the travel industry but also our hard work and dedication to emphasize health and safety for our employees and travelers. I’m grateful to Governor Evers and Tourism Secretary-designee Sara Meaney for making these funds available and for their leadership for our industry during this difficult time.
Recovery will take time. It will take persistence, innovation, and assistance from programs like the TRAVEL grants. We’re thankful for the TRAVEL grants to serve as a steppingstone to help us sustain our operations and speed up recovery.