Celi Clark, Office of the Lieutenant Governor, 608-266-3516
MADISON – In her keynote speech to the Governor’s Conference on Tourism tonight, Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton underlined for industry leaders the critical role they play in the state’s economic outlook.
“The Doyle Administration recognizes tourism as a driving force for growth,” Lawton said. “And we make our commitment clear in this budget. Governor Doyle proposes a nearly $4 million increase in funds to market Wisconsin’s rich recreational and cultural offerings.”
“The tourism industry functions, in many respects, as the central nervous system to Wisconsin’s economy,” Lawton continued. “As the state’s once agricultural and manufacturing-based economy shifts to an information- and knowledge-based economy, we will attract the talent and businesses we need for growth through quality of place. Who introduces and moves more people to and through our state than the tourism industry?”
Lawton focused her remarks on the creative economy, where creativity is a source of economic wealth and people are the key asset. She pointed out how the Arts Board and other Cultural Coalition of Wisconsin members support and develop cultural projects and organizations, and the Department of Tourism markets the results. Wisconsin ends up with a rich menu of attractions that aren’t weather-dependent, and that attract the kind of tourist that takes more trips, stays longer and spends a little more.
“Cultural tourism simply heaps value on the natural gifts of this state, and increases the ‘cool’ factor that attracts talented people because this is where they want to live,” Lawton said. “The Doyle Administration celebrates leaders in the tourism whose business acumen and focused hard work and investments provide the pulse for growth in our state.”