Fun is the #1 leisure travel motivator and based on research released by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, more visitors are having fun on vacation in Wisconsin than ever before. A study conducted by Tourism Economics shows that impact of tourism on the state’s economy was $16 billion in 2011 up 8% from the previous year.
Locally, travelers to Lincoln County spent $44.9 million in 2011. Among the contributing factors for local tourism growth was our partnership with other local communities, attending trade shows around the state, targeted marketing and other marketing efforts including website development, online and social media advertising and email marketing.
“From an economic development standpoint, tourism plays a critical role in Lincoln County,” said Debbe Kinsey, Merrill Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. “Tourism is growing; the numbers clearly reflect that our efforts are paying off. Lincoln County saw an increase of over $5 million in visitor spending last year; that is a 13.49% increase from 2010. Visitors to Lincoln County generated $4.8 million in state and local taxes in 2011 that is a 5.79% increase. All the hard work and advertising partnerships that have been developed to promote Merrill and Lincoln County has proven that we are truly a growing vacation destination. We hope to capitalize on this momentum in the coming seasons with a strong promotional campaign that further defines Merrill and the Lincoln County area and targets visitors with messages that resonate to all types of travelers – Visit Merrill…a reason for every season.”
Statewide, traveler spending generated $1.3 billion in state and local revenue and $950 million in federal taxes.
“2011 was a banner year for the tourism industry in the state. Additional marketing dollars got us back in the advertising game and helped us compete successfully for tourism dollars with our Upper Midwest competitors,” said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. “Last year’s advertising campaign generated a 6:1 return on investment. For every dollar we spent on advertising, the state received $6 in tax revenues. Tourism marketing does work.”
The Department of Tourism worked with a national research firm Longwoods International and Tourism Economics to produce the reports.