Wisconsin tourism begins to rebound

Local News

MADISON, Wisc. (WLAX) — Tourism numbers from September are leading Wisconsin officials to be optimistic about the industry’s recovery.

The state’s tourism industry was down 22 percent last year compared to a record-setting 2019; however, numbers are slowly starting to creep back up, with September 2021 actually outpacing the same month during the record year.

“From the onset of this pandemic, we’ve said that the recovery is going to look a lot more like a dial than a switch, and we have seen that over the last many months,” Department of Tourism Secretary Designee Anne Sayers said. “That dial is kind of turning back up, events are back, folks are feeling more confident about travel, making those plans and actually implementing.”

While recreational travel has been returning to normal, business travel is still letting behind. Julie Hertel with Destinations Wisconsin hopes the winter season can help make up some of those deficits.

“That’s also a good time to start filling our convention centers and our hotel meeting rooms and things like that,” she said.

Wisconsin is one of 13 states posting positive growth this year compared to 2019, but the state is still lagging behind the national average by 9%.

Despite the September increase, the Department of Tourism still anticipates 2021’s overall numbers to be down compared to 2019.

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