Tourism Insights

The health of our community depends on a strong tourism economy

Riding a wave of increased awareness and marquee events and driven by leisure and convention business, the Greater Milwaukee area set an all-time tourism record with a $6.018 billion economic impact in 2022, according to new data from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Direct visitor spending in Milwaukee County alone grew 23% year over year and contributed $2.192 billion to the local economy.

In 2022 in Milwaukee County:

  • Direct visitor spending totaled $2.192 billion – up 23.5% from 2021
  • Tourism supported 26,673 full-time jobs – up 6.2% from 2021
  • Labor Income from tourism totaled $1.312 billion – up 19.2% from 2021
  • State and local taxes generated from tourism totaled $216.6 million – up 15% from 2021
  • Total business sales because of tourism totaled $3.914 billion – up 16.7% from 2021

In the four-county Greater Milwaukee area:

  • Direct visitor spending totaled $3.315 billion - up 20.5% from 2021
  • Tourism supported 43,189 full-time jobs - up 4% from 2021
  • Labor income from tourism totaled $1.944 billion - up 16% from 2021
  • State and local taxes generated from tourism totaled $332.2 million -  up 12.2% from 2021
  • Total business sales because of tourism in the Greater Milwaukee area totaled $6.018 billion – up 15% from 2021

The region’s full post-pandemic recovery represented a 15% gain over 2021 when the four-county region experienced a $5.233 billion economic impact from tourism. Milwaukee (16.7%), Waukesha (12%), Ozaukee (9.9%) and Washington (12.8%) counties all saw significant year-over-year growth.

According to 2022 data from Tourism Economics, a typical Milwaukee visitor stays 1.6 days, 70.5% of visitors stay overnight and 36.8% are repeat trips. The majority (54%) of visitors traveled between 50 and 199 miles to Milwaukee, and the most common place of origin for visitors is metropolitan Chicago (16.5%.)

Top 10 visitor origin states in 2022:

  • Wisconsin       32.4%
  • Illinois              20.4%
  • Iowa                4.2%
  • Minnesota       3.9%
  • Indiana            3.6%
  • Florida             3.3%
  • Michigan         3.2%
  • Texas              3.2%
  • Missouri           3.1%
  • Ohio                2.1%

Top 10 visitor origin metropolitan areas in 2022:

  • Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI    16.5%
  • Madison, WI                                        6.7%
  • Wisconsin non-metropolitan area       3.9%
  • Green Bay, WI                                    3.5%
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN         3.2%
  • Appleton, WI                                       3.0%
  • Oshkosh-Neenah, WI                         2.6%
  • Fond du Lac, WI                                 1.9%
  • St. Louis, MO-IL                                 1.8%
  • Janesville-Beloit, WI                           1.8%
Its all connected

The Value of Tourism in Milwaukee

Since 1967, VISIT Milwaukee has been working with over 800 local and regional businesses to make our community a better place to live, work and play. Because of that, Milwaukee’s tourism industry delivers a variety of economic and quality-of-life benefits, including:

  • Job Creation: The tourism industry is a major source of employment in the Greater Milwaukee area, sustaining over 43,000 people and offering a path to economic advancement.
  • Visitor Spending: In 2022, visitor spending in the Greater Milwaukee area was $3.3 billion. Much of that spending went to support the city’s hotels, restaurants and bars.
  • Tax Generation: In 2022, tourism in Milwaukee County generated $216.6 million in tax revenue, offsetting the taxes Milwaukeeans would otherwise have to make up for.

Visitor Insights

VISIT Milwaukee gains insight into visitors’ travel patterns, origin markets, hotel stays, media preferences and more using data from Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company that is a leader in global forecasting and quantitative analysis. Review the monthly summary here:

Tourism Toolkit

Find everything you wanted to know about Milwaukee using these fact sheets, complete with everything from the number of hotel rooms in the Greater Milwaukee area to the square footage of beachfront along the city's shoreline.

2022 End-of-Year Hotel Performance

2022 hotel performance figures are based on STR report data. STR is a trusted resource designed to help benchmark the hotel industry and glean visitor insights for destinations around the globe.


Occupancy: 56.7%
Last Year: 44.7%
Percent Change: 26.9%


Average Daily Rate (ADR): $152.36
Last Year: $139.86
Percent Change: 8.9%


Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR): $86.39
Last Year: $62.51
Percent Change: 38.2%


Demand: 1,303,046
Last Year: 989,189
Percent Change: 31.7%


Revenue: $198,536,552
Last Year: $138,347,244
Percent Change: 43.5%


Milwaukee County

Occupancy: 56.5%
Last Year: 47.8%
Percent Change: 18.1%


Average Daily Rate (ADR): $125.27
Last Year: $112.20
Percent Change: 11.7%


Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR): $70.79
Last Year: $53.68
Percent Change: 31.9%


Demand: 2,805,708
Last Year: 2,320,429
Percent Change: 20.9%


Revenue: $351,470,844
Last Year: $260,341,495
Percent Change: 35%



Occupancy: 62.7%
Last Year: 57.5%
Percent Change: 9%


Average Daily Rate (ADR): $149
Last Year: $125
Percent Change: 19%


Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR): $93
Last Year: $72
Percent Change: 29.8%


How Does Visitor Spending Directly Impact Milwaukeeans?

In the Greater Milwaukee area, tourism supported over 43,000 full-time jobs and it generated over $330 million in state and local taxes, which means every household has $825 back in their pockets thanks to tourism. That’s like a new washing machine for every household or one ticket to the Taylor Swift Eras Tour.

It Starts With a Visit

Every new Milwaukee resident started off as a visitor to the Good Land, exploring the city and enjoying everything that the Cream City has to offer. A great place to visit is also a great place to live, work and run a business. When we succeed in our mission of growing tourism, it's a step toward making our entire community stronger. 

Tourism Matters in MKE

Milwaukee's hospitality workers are an essential part of our community, the friendly frontline ambassadors and knowledgeable go-to resources for visitors from around the globe. Listen to the stories of three members of the hospitality community about their career paths, what they love about the industry and the special place the city of Milwaukee has in their hearts.

What's Next?

Learn all about some of the recent and upcoming campaigns that VISIT Milwaukee is working on by watching the Monthly Webinar series' "2022 in Review and 2023 Preview," showcasing all the organization has accomplished and the best of what's yet to come in January of this year. 

Explore More About the Cream City