Tourism Has Major Economic Impact On Northwoods:Report

May 15, 2017

Stephanie Klett
Credit Dept. of Tourism

Wisconsin's Tourism Secretary says officials should never ignore the impact tourism has on Wisconsin's economy, especially here in the Northwoods.

During an interview with WXPR, Stephanie Klett said tourism had a record-breaking $20 billion impact in 2016, up about 3 percent from 2015...

"....a lot of times the tendency is to think of tourism as fun and maybe a little bit frivolous. Yes, it is fun, but frivolous it is not. There are 193,500 people working in Wisconsin because of tourism. It really is a win-win for Wisconsin...."

In Oneida county, total business sales were $294 million, with an impact of almost 2,200 jobs. In Vilas county, the 2016 total was $274 million employing more than 1,900 people. Oneida county is 16th for visitor spending and Vilas county is 17th.

Klett says two travel commercials shot in Oneida county continue to be very popular...

"....the commercial we did at Hazelhurst, the family that has been vacationing at Black's Cliff Resort for generations are showcased. While we were there we filmed two spots. One is putting away those cell phones and reconnecting with family. The response to both commercials filmed in Oneida county has been really terrific...."

Those commercials are broadcast in the Midwest, but also are seen globally on the Travel Wisconsin website. Klett says they are finding a solid response from the St. Louis market, where travelers see Wisconsin as a good place for water attractions and a visit that isn't that far away.

She says they market differently to various age groups, with Boomers following traditional media along with digital outlets, while Millenials tend to be mostly digital users.