Falling Leaves, Rising Tourism

To a lot of people, the beginning of the fall season means apple picking, pumpkin carving, hay rides, and leaves changing color. For Wisconsin, fall brings a brand new season of tourism. From all over the country, but especially from the Midwest, tourists explore all the wonders Wisconsin has to offer from the Apostle Islands up north to New Glarus Woods State Park in the south.


Wisconsin has left a lasting, positive impression on people who have come to visit. Wisconsin is ranked number one in the Midwest for affordability, family friendly fun, and welcoming atmosphere. This image of our state is what brought in 110 million visitors in 2017 alone. That is a 17.5 million person increase in the past seven years and contributes to the 40% increase in overall tourism activity we saw in that time frame.


The dedicated hard work of our Department of Tourism helps make these numbers possible. Secretary of Tourism Stephanie Klett and her incredible team have brainstormed countless new ways to keep people coming to our state to experience our breathtaking sites. Just in time for the fall tourism season, Travel Wisconsin installed "Millennial” friendly “selfie stands” in numerous state parks, including our very own Lake Wissota and Brunet Island State Park in Chippewa County. These small platforms hold phones of all makes and models and can help you take a picture of yourself when no one else is around. So whether you are exploring alone or enjoying a family outing, you can effortlessly capture those memories with the help of these handy stands.


Earlier this month, Travel Wisconsin’s Fall Color Report project website went live. You can click on any county in the state to see the fall colors starting to appear there. The photos are submitted by volunteers around the state who are excited to show the coming of fall and share the seasonal spirit. To experience the color change of Wisconsin’s natural wonders, visit travelwisconsin.com to interact with the site’s map.


Tourism for Wisconsin not only provides wonderful memories for our visitors, but it also helps local communities. When comparing 2016 to 2017, direct visitor spending in Chippewa County increased by 10.55% and by 12.53% in Eau Claire County. Our tourism economy is strong and it helps everyone in our community. Without the revenue from visitor spending, each household would have to pay an extra $660 in taxes. Tourism has a positive impact on our state and local economies and we all benefit from the results.


When planning trips and activities for the fall, whether it’s a road trip across the state, preparing for hunting season, or visiting a local fall festival, be sure to visit travelwisconsin.com. You’ll find trip ideas, things to do, and plenty of ideas and resources to make sure you and your family have a memorable Wisconsin weekend this fall.


As always, if you have questions or comments about any state-related issues, you can contact me at Sen.Moulton@legis.wisconsin.gov or (888) 437-9436.