Vacationing in Wisconsin

Tourism's Impact on the State Economy

May 2012


Tourism is important to the Wisconsin economy. Not only do the billions spent by visitors annually support economic growth and jobs, but they also result in tax revenues for state and local governments. In 2011, tourists here spent an estimated $9.9 billion, directly or indirectly supporting 152,000 jobs and more than $1 billion in state-local tax collections. Because of tourism’s impact on the state economy, state and local governments have partnered with private organizations to attract visitors through joint-promotion efforts.

Tourism in Wisconsin takes many forms—a vacation “up north” at the family cabin, a weekend at one of many state parks, snowmobiling in Eagle River, a golf trip to Kohler, or a visit to Milwaukee museums.
Tourism is important for Wisconsin’s economy. In 2011, tourists here spent nearly $10 billion, resulting in thousands of jobs and more than $3 billion in income.
Because of tourism’s importance to the state economy, public and private entities have partnered to promote the state as a desirable place to visit, vacation, and live. Not only does tourism support local jobs and businesses, but it also generates tax revenues for government coffers.
Measuring the economic impact of tourism is difficult. Unlike manufacturing, construction, professional services, and so on, tourism is not a defined industry. As such, federal and state statistics do not address its economic impact. Instead, we must turn to various surveys of travelers to gauge the impact tourism has on the Wisconsin economy.