GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — The Wisconsin Department of Tourism is launching a summer ad campaign to encourage more travelers to visit Wisconsin ahead of the summer tourism season. The campaign, called “Here’s to Those Who Wisconsin", features ads with real families and friends discovering the unexpected in Wisconsin.
The campaign's in-state markets include Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay and Wausau, while out-of-state markets include Chicago, Minneapolis, Cedar Rapids, Duluth, Rochester, Davenport, Des Moines and Rockford.
Tourism plays a critical role in the state's economy. In 2020 tourism was still a $17.3 billion industry, welcoming 90.7 million visitor trips and supporting more than 157,000 Wisconsin jobs.
According to the department of tourism, this year travel sentiment has returned to pre-pandemic levels.
"We've been tracking travelers' sentiment since the beginning of the pandemic and right now it's as high as we saw it since before the pandemic, so about 90% of Americans are saying they plan to travel in the next six months," said Secretary-designee Anne Sayers.
Sayers says that due to rising gas prices, more travelers are planning to vacation close to home. This is allowing the department to capitalize on nearby drive markets like Minneapolis and Chicago.
"What we're seeing more and more is that folks plan to travel closer to home. In fact, we've seen an uptick in that sentiment in the last three months," Sayers said. "Across the nation road trips are actually up, so we are poised to take advantage of that kind of perspective right now."
While the workforce shortage is still a major concern for the tourism industry, Sayers says the workforce is in better shape than it was last summer. She says the boom in tourism that's expected this summer will go a long way to boost the state's economy as the industry recovers in the aftermath of the pandemic.
"Wisconsin's hospitality workers are going above and beyond to make sure that the visitors themselves are still feeling that Wisconsin hospitality that they've come to expect, what we're known for," Sayers said. "We're making it work and we are seeing more folks in the workforce this year than last."