Lastest State Numbers Shows Tourism Is Tops In Northwoods

May 7, 2019

Apostle Islands kayaker
Credit National Park Service

Tourists continue to come to Wisconsin and more than the year before. That assessment comes from new figures released by the state during National Tourism and Travel Week.

Oneida County Tourism Council President and Minocqua Chamber Director Krystal Westfahl talks about those numbers...

"...Tourism accounted for 2,237 jobs in Oneida county in 2018. an increase of about 1 percent. That doesn't sound like a lot, but tourism is a mainstay and a driving force for economic impact in the Northwoods economy. This year we saw an increase of a little over three percent in visitor spending over 2017. The visitors spent over $237 million in Oneida county which is a huge number..."

Vilas county was up more than 6 percent to $232 million dollars, employing more than 2,000 workers. Forest and Price counties were up 4 percent, Lincoln county was up 8 percent, and Langlade and Iron counties were nearly the same as 2017. Krystal Westfahl says in Oneida county they're trying new markets...

"Our main push in Oneida county is to attract a new traveler, younger, who we haven't seen quite so much in the past couple of years. Soon we'll be launching a new brand and new campaign to impact those types of demographics coming to the Northwoods, but it is all based in outdoor recreation. That state is seeing those increases and they're talking about how they can give more money to outdoor recreation efforts..."

Visitation reached 112 million last year. Visitor spending rose 4.9 percent in 2018 to $13.3 billion. Tourism spending supports nearly 8 percent of all private jobs in Wisconsin. Tourism in Wisconsin generated $1.6 billion in state and local taxes in 2018.