June 2022 - A Wisconsin Department of Tourism study showed that the Wisconsin Tourism Industry generated $20.9 billion in total economic impact in 2021, a 21 percent increase over 2020. The report said tourism supported more than 169,700 full and part-time jobs, up 7 percent over 2020. Wisconsin also hosted over 102.3 million visitor trips in 2021, up 12 percent from 2020. Visitors generated $1.4 billion in state and local taxes because of tourism spending. Without this tax revenue, each Wisconsin household would need to pay $580 to maintain the current level of government services generated by tourism. Wisconsin tourism has not fully recovered to Wisconsin tourism’s record setting year of 2019, which saw $22.2 billion in total economic impact. Business and Meetings & Convention travel is rebounding more slowly from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic than the leisure travel sector . Workforce shortages and inflation are also impacting recovery.
July 2021 - Governor Evers signed the 2021-23 state budget that maintains funding for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's marketing efforts. Specifically, the budget::
June 2021 - TFW is grateful to Governor Tony Evers for directing $140 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds towards the tourism industry. The investments include:
May 2021 - TFW Applauds WI Legislature's Joint Finance Committee Action The committee voted to provide $781,800 GPR each year in ongoing funding for Tourism's general marketing of Wisconsin as a travel destination. It also approved funding for the Office of Outdoor Recreationon during the next biennium. The JFC committee continues to review the entire state budget and will then send it to the full Legislature for action before it is sent to the Governor. The fiscal year 2022-2023 budget begins July 1st.
February 2021 - Senator Alberta Darling and Representative Dan Knodl are currently circulating LRB 1826/1 relating to the start of the K-12 public school year. The Tourism Federation of Wisconsin (TFW) opposes this legislation. The bill would remove the current requirement that schools wait until September 1 to commence their school year. If passed, the policy will have a negative impact on Wisconsin’s tourism economy, already reeling from the devastating effects of the pandemic. While the Wisconsin Department of Tourism doesn’t receive its 2020 tourism economic impact report until May, the U.S Travel Association has reported that travel spending was down 42 percent nationwide last year compared to 2019 and Wisconsin will certainly be down significantly. Removing the September 1 school start date would clearly lead to less revenue for Wisconsin businesses and less tax revenue for Wisconsin state government during the peak summer vacation months, which will already be in decline due to event cancellations and other negative effects of the pandemic. Minnesota and Michigan, two major competitors to Wisconsin tourism, have state laws requiring schools to start after Labor Day. Further, repealing Wisconsin’s law could put the state’s tourism industry at a competitive disadvantage as there would be fewer employees available to serve our visitors. A 2016 survey conducted by St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute found that 68 percent of Wisconsin parents support the September 1 school start date law, many commenting a preference for a post-Labor Day start; and that summers in Wisconsin are already short enough. August also has warmer temperatures than June, which is perfect for family vacations, but can create uncomfortable learning environments in schools not equipped with air conditioning. School boards and districts have great flexibility in setting their school calendar, including selecting holiday breaks, setting staff development days, and determining school hours. Recent advancements in technology and virtual schooling make this flexibility even greater. Advancement Placement (AP) course work can begin voluntarily over the summer by students interested in these courses. Since the September 1 school start date took effect, AP course participation and scores have increased significantly and are well above the national average. Wisconsin’s economy will lose millions of dollars, hundreds of jobs, and families will lose well-deserved vacations when weather is at its best, and when they are growing more comfortable traveling again.