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Governor Evers visits Crandon to promote tourism

Katie Thoresen

Memorial Day Weekend will see thousands of people make their way north.

Businesses across the Northwoods are working to get ready for them.

Forest County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chris Shafer says hiring and housing are challenges for many places, including Forest County, but what they really need is visitors.

“We need people to come up north. We need people to come up and spend time in Forest County. Stop here. Stay here. Play here. Spend their money. Visit our wonderful bars and restaurants, etc.,” said Shafer.

One of the businesses that draws tens of thousands of visitors to Forest County each year is the Crandon International Raceway.

Governor Tony Evers visited the raceway Wednesday.

Cliff Flannery and Jamey Flannery gave him a tour.

“We run about 60,000 people through here on Labor Day weekend over a four-day event. We have approximately 500 drivers come in, race teams. Of those race teams, about 350 are from out of state,” explained Jamey Flannery.

Evers’s budget called for adding several positions to the state Department of Tourism and investing $33.6 million for promoting tourism in the state.

He wants to make sure Wisconsin remains a top tourist destination in the Midwest.

“The more we can advertise and get people to come to Wisconsin the better. We’re already kicking butt with the neighboring states. We’re well ahead of them in tourism and resources. We want to continue doing it. People love coming to Wisconsin. Hopefully, some of them will actually come and spend some money and then decide to stay here,” said Evers.

Republicans are in the process of re-writing the budget. It’s not yet known what funding for tourism will look like.

Shafer believes a boost to the department would help the county grow.

“All the additional ad spend that goes down into Illinois, into various states. We need that promotion. In order to have that visibility we need the top people in the state of Wisconsin, Director Sayers, Governor Evers, all of our staff that they are promoting the true business and tourism within the county,” he said.

Wisconsin’s tourism industry has a $20.9 billion economic impact on the state.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.