Tourism is big business - and big bucks

WE MAY NOT LIKE all Flatlanders, the way some of them drive or the college and professional sports teams they support – but we do like the money they bring with them when they come to visit us in Wisconsin.

Of course, it’s not just visitors from the Land of Lincoln who help to make tourism one of the state’s largest – and fastest-growing – industries, but they often times seem to be the most visible.

Wherever they come from, and wherever they’re going, visitors have helped make tourism a $16.8 billion industry in Wisconsin. That’s a number that’s grown by $2 billion over the last two years, growth that would make many other businesses here and elsewhere green with envy.

Dave Fantle, deputy secretary of the state Department of Tourism, delivered that upbeat message to the annual Sheboygan County Tourism Breakfast at Amore in Plymouth.

The five dozen or so representatives of the Tourism Alliance of Sheboygan County and localities across the county that benefit from tourism were buoyed by the message and urged to keep the trend moving upward by Fantle.

“We set the table and you all serve the food,” Fantle said of the state’s efforts to promote tourism. “We bring them into the state and you get them into your places.”

There are a lot of great attractions for the Department of Tourism to promote, not just in Sheboygan County but across the state. But you can say the same for the states that surround us as well as those farther away, many of whom devote many more state dollars to promoting tourism.

That Wisconsin is not only hanging in but thriving and flourishing against that competition is a testament not only to the great tourist attractions we offer but also to the friendly, welcoming, hardworking people who work in the tourism industry.

Here in Sheboygan County - where we offer natural and scenic beauty, historic sites, ample recreational opportunities in all season, first-rate resorts, world-class golf and more – tourism is a major contributor to the local economy, helping to keep our county healthy in the midst of economic turmoil.

Indeed, our county ranks 14th among the state’s 72 counties for tourism revenue, coming from Elkhart Lake, Plymouth, Greenbush, Sheboygan Falls, Kohler, Random Lake, Sheboygan and everywhere in between where visitors find fun and relaxation.

Tourists spent $91.2 million in our county last year, an increase of 6 percent over the previous year. Those are dollars that come in largely from outside the county to support local jobs, homes and families.

So wherever you’re coming from, keep coming back to Wisconsin and Sheboygan County folks. We’re sure you’ll find it fun – and worth your while.

At issue:
Tourism in state and county
Bottom line:
A booming business

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