Economic impact of tourism felt in jobs, income, business sales

MILWAUKEE, WI - (May 4, 2020) – VISIT Milwaukee today released final data from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism indicating strong growth in the tourism market for 2019. The data continues to show that Milwaukee is the state’s largest tourism market, accounting for 20 percent of total tourism economic impact to the state. 

In Milwaukee County:

  • Direct Visitor Spending totaled $2.2 billion – up 4.2% from 2018
  • Tourism supported 33,461 full-time jobs – up 2.2% from 2018
  • Labor Income from tourism totaled $1.25 billion – up 4.5% from 2018
  • State and Local taxes generated from tourism total ed $260 million – up 3.2% from 2018
  • Total Business Sales because of tourism totaled $3.9 billion – up 3.95% from 2018

In the Greater Milwaukee (4-county) area:

  • Direct Visitor Spending totaled $3.3 billion
  • Tourism supported 53,238 full-time jobs
  • Labor Income from tourism totaled $1.84 billion
  • State and Local Taxes generated from tourism totaled $389 million
  • Total Business Sales because of tourism in the Greater Milwaukee area totaled $5.9 billion 

The numbers are estimates from The Economic Impact of Tourism in Wisconsin, an annual tourism impact study commissioned by the state and conducted by Tourism Economics and released by Travel Wisconsin in early May to celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week. 

“These numbers are a direct result of the efforts of the team at VISIT Milwaukee working to bring meetings, conventions, sporting events, group travel, and leisure visitors to the region,” said Peggy Williams-Smith, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. “Together with our partners and community stakeholders, we are keeping Milwaukee in the forefront of people’s minds when planning vacations and business events.”

About VISIT Milwaukee

VISIT Milwaukee is the Greater Milwaukee area’s convention and visitors bureau, marketing the destination as a top choice for business, convention, and leisure travel to national and international visitors in order to increase the economic impact of tourism in the region. Each year, tourism supports over 53,000 full-time jobs and brings more than $5.9 billion to the community. VISIT Milwaukee has over 700 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services, and area businesses. The Wisconsin Center District and Potawatomi Hotel & Casino are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call (800) 554-1448 or visit