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8 must-dos on a family getaway to Milwaukee

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Milwaukee is packed with things to see and do for families, making for a fabulous fall weekend getaway.

5 reasons Milwaukee is the best city in the Midwest

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Here, five (mostly new) ways the pride of Lake Michigan is prying open our eyelids.

Travel Guide: Milwaukee

Monday, August 10, 2015

Milwaukee is best known for beer, cheese curds and brats but you don’t have to venture far to find other great entertainment options.

Chinese Travel Blogger Likes Chicago But Loves Milwaukee

Thursday, July 16, 2015

One of the most influential travel bloggers in China wrapped up a Chicago visit Wednesday with many nice things to say about what he called a "city of steel."

But after a whirlwind three days of ballgames, festivals, museums and tours, Jun Song said that, all things considered, he'd rather be in Milwaukee.

Song, 47, is on a sponsored 10-day Great Lakes tour to promote foreign tourism. With 55 million blog visitors, his posts could have a big impact among Chinese travelers, the fastest-growing segment of international travelers to the U.S.

Song's road trip started July 11 in Milwaukee. He enjoyed tours of the Miller Brewery and the Harley-Davidson museum, but mostly liked hanging out on the lakefront.

He arrived in Chicago on Sunday, in time to catch the finale of the Cubs-Sox crosstown series at Wrigley Field. Since then, he has taken in everything from deep-dish pizza to the city's skyline, summing up his first visit to Chicago in two words.

"So big," said Song, a Beijing resident.

The tour, which will also take Song through Michigan and Ohio before ending in Indianapolis July 19, is one of five summer road trips funded by Brand USA, a public-private partnership promoting international travel to the U.S. This summer, social media influencers from India, Brazil and France will also tour the U.S., filing reports to their massive followings abroad.

This is the second year for the program, which last year generated nearly 2.6 billion impressions on Facebook alone, according to Talia Salem, who heads up the effort for Brand USA.

"Bringing in influencers and giving them the tools to tell the American story to their audiences is a lot more authentic," Salem said. "They're free to say what they want. That's a risk that we take ... but we feel that the rewards outweigh the risk."

Song blogs under the name dubilaosong, which roughly translated means "one-armed," a reference to his damaged left arm, which he said was injured in a 1999 fireworks explosion in Beijing. His site includes many photos of his travels, hoping to capture local culture for his Chinese followers.

He reflected on the ups and downs of his Chicago visit over croissants and Chinese cigarettes at an outdoor table at the Chicago French Market on North Clinton Street on Wednesday, accompanied by two thirty-something tour guides and a translator brought in for the breakfast chat.

Highlights of his visit included the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park, which features a video loop of Chicago faces on 50-foot towers. He also liked the interactive Robot Revolution exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.

He was impressed with the atmosphere of Wrigley Field but found the game itself less than scintillating. Post-game revelry at Wrigleyville bars, however, was a home run for Song, who loved the festive energy.

A visit to Lou Malnati's for authentic Chicago deep-dish pizza was also among his disappointments. Song said there was too much cheese and the crust was a little hard. He said he much preferred Pizza Hut of China. The best American pizza he has sampled to date was at a Costco in Seattle.

"Costco pizza I like," Song said, enthusiastically bypassing his translator.

He had better things to say about Chicago hot dogs, which he tried during a visit to Taste of Chicago, flashing an eager thumbs up in approval.

Chinese tourism to Chicago was up 4 percent last year to 133,000 visitors. That is significantly behind the 21 percent growth rate across the U.S.

Overall, Chicago dropped to 10th among U.S. cities for international tourism last year, with 1.3 million visitors, a 5 percent decline, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office.

Song said Chicago is not really on the radar for most Chinese people, who only know the city as the home of the Bulls.

This year, the city extended its new "Chicago Epic" tourism campaign to China with a $780,000 digital campaign funded by the Illinois Office of Tourism and Brand USA. The full schedule aired before the state budget stalemate forced Choose Chicago to curtail the campaign last month. This week, Choose Chicago halted all international travel, further hampering efforts to sell the city to foreign tourists.

Choose Chicago didn't fund his stop in Chicago but coordinated the itinerary.

While his blog will convey his preferences, Song said it may still encourage more Chinese tourists to visit Chicago — if only as a stop on the way to Milwaukee.

My Midwest: 6 Damn Good Reasons to Visit Milwaukee

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I have been blogging for nine years now and while I don’t normally talk about the “business of blogging” on this very blog, I will say that in large part due to my blogging (and traveling) over the last decade, I’ve met some incredible people who are reshaping their lives and I’ve made some wonderful friends.

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News Releases

VISIT Milwaukee’s Frost Williams wins Meeting Planner Award

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

VISIT Milwaukee’s Frost Williams wins Meeting Planner Award

MILWAUKEE — September 16, 2015— Frost Williams, convention sales development manager at VISIT Milwaukee, was presented with a major award at the 2015 Awards Gala of the Meeting Professionals International Wisconsin Chapter (MPIWI) in Wisconsin Dells on September 10, 2015.

The MPIWI Chapter is the premier association in the state dedicated to the growth, development and success of event and meeting professionals. The chapter’s annual Meetings Industry Advocate Award recognizes an individual who is a strong voice for the importance of meetings in the marketplace.

“Frost is a consistent champion for meetings in Wisconsin, both through his work at VISIT Milwaukee and on the board at MPI-Wisconsin, where he connects with MPI leaders from other chapters to promote our events,” said Carmen Smalley, 2014-2015 President, Meeting Professional International (MPI) Wisconsin Chapter and Instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College with the Meeting & Event Program.

VISIT Milwaukee Senior Vice President of Sales Marco Bloemendaal added, “We congratulate Frost on this prestigious award. He is a great ambassador for the meetings industry not only in the Milwaukee area, but around the state as well.”

A native of Wisconsin, Frost worked for Hyatt and Hilton hotels around the country for 12 years before coming to VISIT Milwaukee in April of 2012. As convention sales development manager, he is responsible for lead generation and selling Greater Milwaukee as a premier destination for conventions, meetings, tradeshows and events. He works with national, regional, local and third-party organizations to develop and direct business leads to our partner hotels, the Wisconsin Center and other partner organizations with potential to supply support services to these groups.

For more information about the MPIWI, log on to

About VISIT Milwaukee
VISIT Milwaukee markets Greater Milwaukee to tourists, convention organizers and meeting planners, both nationally and internationally. VISIT Milwaukee has approximately 650 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services and area businesses. In 2014, tourism amounted to $4.9 billion in total business sales in Greater Milwaukee and supported more than 49,000 local jobs. The City of Wauwatosa, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino and the Wisconsin Center District are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs.  For more information call 1-800-554-1448 or visit

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