This morning, National Geographic released its annual “Best of the World” list and named Milwaukee as one of the best destinations for travel in 2023 -- one of only 25 such destinations, and one of only five in the United States. With a monthly readership of nearly 13 million, this prestigious list distinguishes Milwaukee from its peer cities and elevates its reputation in the minds of travelers around the world.
“Milwaukee has every reason to be proud of this designation. It is particularly gratifying because of the global perspective Nat Geo provides when evaluating the ‘Best of the World’,” Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said. “There is a lot to love in our city, and we should never lose sight of the fact that Milwaukee is a truly great place.”
Milwaukee’s inclusion calls out its support for the local arts community and highlights Deer District, the Riverwalk, Harley-Davidson Museum, and the forthcoming Bronzeville Center for the Arts, among others. Selected and written by National Geographic Traveler editors from around the world—in collaboration with National Geographic experts and expedition leaders—the annual list features travel destinations and experiences grouped by category: Family, Adventure, Culture, Nature, and Community. Milwaukee is noted in the article as a community filled with "back-thumping energy with a close-knit creative community that’s turning heads beyond the Great Lakes."
“Milwaukee is home to many hidden gems that don’t get enough attention. Whether it is our museums, sports teams, breweries, restaurants, summer festivals, beaches, or Milwaukee County Parks System, we truly have something for everyone,” said County Executive David Crowley. “In the last few years, these amenities have made our region a destination for large-scale events like the U.S. Triathlon, Red Bull Flugtag, and national political conventions. This prestigious designation will draw even more events and more travelers landing at MKE Airport to explore our world-class city.”
It's also an opportunity to remind locals that they can be the city's best ambassadors.
“Let us use this recognition to remember what we all know: Milwaukee is a dynamic melting pot of culture full of world-class amenities, stunning natural beauty, and even better people,” says Dr. Eve M. Hall, chair of VISIT Milwaukee’s Board of Directors and President and CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Urban League. “Whether in our personal or professional lives, we should be shouting this from the rooftops every day and inviting others to experience what makes our community so wonderful.”
VISIT Milwaukee’s communications team had been pitching Milwaukee for coverage by National Geographic for over a year, something that the team does on a regular basis to publications of all types that reach both leisure and business travelers. This story represents one of over 1,600 the team has had a hand in so far in 2022, which have generated a combined 3.1 billion potential impressions and are a result of constant proactive and reactive media relations. Using paid digital, print, and social campaigns, VISIT Milwaukee plans to promote this recognition across all channels and to all of its audiences.
“I’m so proud of the work my team has done to position Milwaukee in a way that makes us proud but also feels authentic to who and what we are as a community,” says VISIT Milwaukee president and CEO Peggy Williams-Smith. “This recognition allows us to position Milwaukee as both a leisure and a meeting destination. We know that an accolade like this will generate conversations about Milwaukee on the tradeshow floor, in board rooms, and in social settings for years to come.”
Thanks to feedback from meeting and event planners, VISIT Milwaukee knows that even leisure travel stories like National Geographic’s can have an impact on a meeting planner who is always seeking the best possible attendee experience. After all, after a day at the Wisconsin Center ends, attendees flock to nearby restaurants, bars and attractions, and expect the same top-tier experience they receive on the Wisconsin Center floor.
“Getting Milwaukee’s name in front of the magazine’s diverse audience gives us a chance to show the world what we already know: Milwaukee is a world-class city with top-notch hospitality. With millions of eyes on us, it’s also an opportunity to earn future business for meetings and conventions and showcase our venues, including the expanded Wisconsin Center, set to open in spring 2024,” says Marty Brooks, President and CEO of the Wisconsin Center District. “It is truly an honor to have Milwaukee named one of the best places to go in the world for 2023, especially in a publication as world-renowned as National Geographic.”