This week is National Travel and Tourism Week, and in response the state Department of Tourism released figures regarding Wisconsin's tourism industry in 2011. The state overall saw an increase in visitor spending of around eight-percent.
When taking a closer look for our listening area, most counties did see an increase in their tourism business. Langlade and Lincoln counties led the eight county area with visitor spending that grew over 10-percent from 2010 to 2011. Marathon, Menominee and Oconto counties saw increases between five to 10-percent, and Forest County saw a slight increase of just over 1.6-percent. Oneida and Shawano counties saw their visitor spending decline by up to two-percent.
Another trend that was noticed with the numbers was that all areas counties held or dropped their employment in tourism businesses. Langlade, Lincoln, Menominee and Oconto counties only raised their employment at or below one-percent, while Forest, Marathon, Oneida and Shawano counties saw employment drop by up to 9.25-percent.
In their press release, the state tourism department credits an increase in state funding in the current state budget for promoting tourism with the increase spending and tax revenues last year. They said for every dollar they spent in advertising, six dollars was returned to the state and local governments in the form of incremental tax revenue. They added their summer campaign to bringing people from neighboring states to Wisconsin will begin later this month.
by Rusty Mehlberg
AREA COUNTIES' VISITOR SPENDING IN 2011
Forest: $10.9-million, up 1.64-percent
Langlade: $42.1-million, up 11.56-percent
Lincoln: $44.9-million, up 13.49-percent
Marathon: $194.7-percent, up 7.01-percent
Menominee: $2.1-million, up 8.75-percent
Oconto: $70-million, up 8.46-percent
Oneida: $176-million, down 1.7-percent
Shawano: $52.7-million, down 0.79-percent
AREA COUNTIES' EMPLOYMENT IN 2011
Forest: 212 positions, down 9 or 4.24-percent
Langlade: 509 positions, up 1 or 0.29-percent
Lincoln: 656 positions, up 5 or 0.74-percent
Marathon: 3,966 positions, down 19 or 0.48-percent
Menominee: 49 positions, unchanged or up 0.12-percent
Oconto: 843 positions, up 9 or 1.05-percent
Oneida: 2,048 positions, down 208 or 9.25-percent
Shawano: 876 positions, down 64 or 6.83-percent