Wisconsin’s Tourism Industry Gearing Up For Summer

State Expands Marketing Campaign As Summer Tourism Gets Underway

sgt fun (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Memorial Day weekend marks the start of Wisconsin’s summer tourist season.

AAA Wisconsin is projecting 766,000 residents will travel 50 miles or more over the holiday weekend, up 2.5 percent from last year.

Nick Jarmusz of AAA Wisconsin said low unemployment and ongoing economic growth are boosting tourism and travel, even as the price of gasoline has inched upward.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“We’re looking at gas prices for this summer that are a little higher than they were last year, but still pretty significantly lower than they were in the years before that,” Jarmusz said. “And even some of the largest gains that we’ve seen in year over year travel over the last 10 years occurred in years when gas prices were significantly higher than they are now.”

The state Department of Tourism is hoping Memorial Day weekend will kick off a strong summer tourist season.

State tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett said tourists generated $20 billion in economic activity last year, up 3.5 percent from 2015.

Klett said the department’s annual marketing campaign includes neighboring states such as Illinois, as well as new areas, like a campaign in the St. Louis market.

“We just launched it, the billboards went up this week — nine billboards throughout the city, television ads, radio commercials, Pandora, Spotify — you name it, we’re going in there full force,” Klett said. “And in a couple weeks, I’ll be at the Cardinals-Brewers game, spending a little time telling them about why Wisconsin is coming to St. Louis.”

Editor’s Note: AAA Wisconsin is a WPR underwriter.