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Langlade County Tourism Grows: Visitors Spent $47.7 Million Here During 2017

May 9, 2018

Antigo Times

Antigo Times

Tourism in Langlade County grew 2.68 percent in 2017, mirroring the northwoods growth of 3.17 percent.

The data, released by the state Tourism Department and the governor’s office shows that in Langlade County, direct visitor spending topped $47.7 million, up 2.68 percent. Those visitors accounted for 494 jobs with a total personal income of $11.1 million.

“Tourism plays a vital role in Langlade County,” Angie Close, executive director of the Langlade County Economic Development Corporation, said. “The industry is largely comprised of small businesses, travel and hospitality jobs that can’t be out sourced or exported. It provides work across the spectrum of employment from entry level and part-time jobs to management, executive and entrepreneurial positions.”
Two-year-old Drew Tainter takes a spin on the new off-road cycling trail carved
near Veterans Memorial Park at Jack Lake. It’s another addition to the “County of Trails.”
His dad, Andrew, took the photograph.

Langlade County, through the economic development corporation, markets itself as the “County of Trails,” with a quarter of a million acres of forest land, 841 lakes, 225 streams, 395 miles of trout streams, and 200 spring ponds.

That has worked well, Close said, but for the industry here to grow, those opportunities must be continually enhanced and promoted for all users, and promoted across a variety of spectrums ranging from social media and direct mailings to advertisements and trade shows.

“The marketing we are doing and the expansion of trails and facilities that groups have been doing are working,” Close said. “For us to grow, we have to keep expanding our offerings by increasing our trails and our usage.”

That is happening, both on the motorized and nonmotorized end of things.

For the silent sports crowd, facilities have been upgraded and expanded at the Moccasin Trail, where a new all-season lodge has been
constructed and at Veteran’s Memorial Park at Jack Lake, where the Langlade Area Mountain Bike Association has added segments with an overall goal of creating a 25-mile system that could draw outdoor enthusiasts from across the Midwest.

The completion of the first leg of that expansion in 2017 has allowed the former Splash-N-Dash aquathon at Jack Lake to be expanded
this summer into the MK Triathlon, which will mix swimming, running and offroad cycling with camping, music and food in a new festival slated July 14.

That’s in addition to the ongoing Wolfman Triathlon, a mix of kayaking, running and biking, along the Wolf River in September, and the Jack Lake Ski Fest in January.

Motorized trails have also received a boost with the expansion of the countywide all-terrain vehicle network and hopes to eventually connect the trails to the massive Oconto County system.

And the county will once again host the charity ATV/UTV ride for the Make A Wish Foundation on Oct. 13. Sponsorship from the Wisconsin ATV Association will highlight the event on 17,000 maps statewide and bring further recognition to the area as well as some challenges.

Langlade County still lags the powerhouse counties of Oneida, with $229.9 million in visitor spending, up 3.64 percent; and Vilas, $219.3 million, up 3.18 percent. But it compares favorably with Lincoln, $54.9 million, up 1.99 percent; and Shawano, $67.1 million, up 3.03 percent.

Langlade also outpaces Florence, $5.7 million; Forest, $13.6 million; and Menominee, $2.7 million.

Statewide, tourism accounted for $20.6 billion in total sales in 2017, up from $20 billion the previous years.

“Wisconsin’s travel and hospitality industry is booming,” Gov. Scott Walker said. “Our tourism industry continues to be crucial to our state and is consistently a top performing sector of our economy. Investing in tourism promotion and marketing at the national, state, and local level is not only an effective way to attract visitors and grow the economy, it also enhances the image of Wisconsin as a great place to live, work, and do business.”

The tourism industry continues to show stable, longterm growth according to Tourism Economics’ recently released economic impact figures. Last year’s visitor volumes topped 110 million visits, an increase of 17.5 million, compared to 92.5 million in 2011. Tourism supported a total of 195,255 jobs in 2017, up from 172,000 in 2011, a 13.5 percent increase.

According to surveys conducted by Longwoods International, 57 percent of those surveyed who saw Wisconsin’s tourism ad campaign and visited the state strongly agree that the state is a good place to live versus 21 percent of those who had not seen the advertising and had never visited the state.

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2017 Langlade County Tourism Fact Sheet »