Growth Seen in Meeting/Convention Sectors; Milwaukee, Dane and Sauk
Counties Top $1 Billion in Traveler Spending
MADISON, Wis., (May 10, 2008) — Traveler spending in Wisconsin
remained strong and steady last year, despite rising gasoline prices,
economic uncertainty and poor winter and spring weather, according to a
study released today by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. The 18th
annual Economic Impact of Expenditures by Travelers on Wisconsin report
estimated that travelers here spent $12.78 billion in 2007, virtually a
dead heat with the returns for 2006.
The state saw growth in both the business travel and meetings and
convention travel sectors. Estimated expenditures by business travelers
grew .34 percent, from $2.42 to $2.43 billion, while estimated spending
by meetings and convention travelers increased 5.86 percent, from $1.28
to $1.36 billion.
“The gains we’ve made with meetings and conventions are indicative of
two things, that tourism is a diverse industry and that it is that very
diversity that contributes to the state’s economy,” noted Tourism
Secretary Kelli A. Trumble. “Whole communities and the tourism industry
both have made investments in infrastructure, including new and improved
convention centers, lodging properties and attractions, and we’re seeing
the financial wisdom of that approach.”
The state’s new branding initiative, led by the Department of Tourism,
will help grow Wisconsin’s tourism industry. The initiative pays tribute
to the originality and ingenuity of the state’s people. “Strong brands
deliver higher returns, attract more loyal customers and provide a more
predictable revenue stream, and that was precisely our intention with
creating this new brand platform for the state,” said Trumble.
Tourism remains among the state’s largest industries. The total impact
of traveler expenditures provided an estimated $1.42 billion in state
government revenues as well as $638 million in local government
Shopping remained travelers’ most popular category of expenditure,
accounting for roughly 30 percent of overall spending at $3.94 billion.
Food was the second largest category, at $3.41 billion (27 percent),
followed by recreation at $2.84 billion (22 percent); lodging at $1.61
billion (13 percent); and transportation at $970 million (8 percent).
The recreation category includes sightseeing, sports and event fees,
cultural and historic events tickets, wagering, liquor, evening
entertainment and licenses.
Traveler spending was up during summer and fall, traditionally the
year’s strongest seasons, rising by .2 percent (to $4.89 billion) in
summer and 1.4 percent (to $3.07 billion) in fall. In contrast,
traveler spending fell by .6 percent in spring (to $2.64 billion) and by
3.9 percent in winter (to $2.19 billion).
Milwaukee led the way among the state’s counties, with estimated
traveler spending of $1.68 billion, a gain of one percent. Also topping
the one billion mark were Dane and Sauk counties, with estimated
traveler expenditures of $1.18 and $1.05 billion, respectively.
Rounding out the state’s “Top 10” counties in traveler spending were
Waukesha, Brown, Walworth, Door, Outagamie, Sheboygan and Vilas
Davidson Peterson Associates, an independent marketing and economic
impact research firm specializing in tourism and hospitality, conducts
the annual tourism study. To view a summary of the report, visit
mmary.pdf, or visit
llreport.pdf for the full version.