State tourism up $700 million last year
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
Visitors to Oneida County spent $221.8 million in 2016. That’s an increase of 2.74 percent over 2015, according the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce.
The state Department of Tourism worked with Tourism Economics and Longwoods International to produce reports that show the impact of tourism on the state’s economy reached $20 billion last year, an increase of 3.5 percent, or $700 million.
According to the report, tourism directly and indirectly supports 193,500 jobs in Wisconsin, a six-year addition of more than 21,500 jobs to the state’s total employment.
Locally, spending by travelers to Oneida County was up by 2.74 percent compared to 2015. The increase in visitor spending also contributed to the 1.53 percent increase in Oneida County Employment in 2016.
“Tourism plays a critical role in our community and continues to grow, and from an economic standpoint, the numbers reflect that,” said Maggie Steffen, Rhinelander Chamber executive director. “Last year’s numbers across the state, county and even locally are very encouraging and we hope to capitalize on this momentum in the coming summer season.”
The Rhinelander Tourism and Marketing Committee, a committee that is funded by Room Tax funds from the City of Rhinelander and the Town of Pelican, noted a 10.1 percent increase in the amount of room tax collected in 2016 compared to the previous year. With the funds collected, the RTMC group promotes local tourism through things such as the ExploreRhinelander.com website, area promotions, and various marketing efforts.
Statewide, traveler spending generated $1.5 billion in state and local tax revenue and nearly that much in federal taxes.
“Traveler spending has grown an average of 4.5 percent per year since 2011,” Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett said. “It’s a tremendous credit to the tourism industry in all 72 counties and the work they do to create fun vacation experiences, market their destinations, and provide great customer service that makes travelers want to return to Wisconsin each year.”