Tourism Insights

The health of our community depends on a strong tourism economy

Driven by leisure and convention business, direct visitor spending in Milwaukee County in 2023 grew 6.4% year over year, surpassing the domestic inflation rate by 2% and contributing $2.342 billion to the local economy. The Greater Milwaukee area also set an all-time tourism spending record with a $6.388 billion total economic impact in 2023, according to data released today by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

(Economic impact data is provided by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and updated annually. Last updated: June 2024.) 

In 2023 in Milwaukee County:

  • Direct visitor spending totaled $2.342 billion – up 6.4% from 2022
  • Tourism supported 27,226 full-time jobs – up 2.1% from 2022
  • Labor Income from tourism totaled $1.356 billion – up 3.4% from 2022
  • State and local taxes generated from tourism totaled $231.1 million – up 6.6% from 2022
  • Total business sales because of tourism totaled $4.167 billion – up 6.2% from 2022

In the four-county Greater Milwaukee area:

  • Direct visitor spending totaled $3.525 billion - up 5.91% from 2022
  • Tourism supported 43,988 full-time jobs - up 1.84% from 2022
  • Labor income from tourism totaled $2.022 billion - up 4.01% from 2022
  • State and local taxes generated from tourism totaled $353 million -  up 6.32% from 2022
  • Total business sales because of tourism in the Greater Milwaukee area totaled $6.388 billion – up 5.93% from 2022

The four-county tourism industry’s 2023 economic impact beat the previous record of $6.018 billion, set just last year. These estimates are from The Economic Impact of Tourism in Wisconsin, an annual tourism impact study commissioned by the state and conducted by Tourism Economics.

According to 2023 data from Tourism Economics, a typical Milwaukee County visitor stays 1.4 days, 71.4% of visitors stay overnight and 35.6% 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%), though 2023 marked a year for growth in key out-of-state markets, including Minneapolis-St. Paul and Des Moines, Iowa, all of which are markets airing “Good Things Brewing.”

Top 10 visitor origin states in 2023:

  • Wisconsin       29.6%
  • Illinois             25.5%
  • Iowa                4.5%
  • Minnesota       3.5%
  • Michigan         3.4%
  • Indiana            3.3%
  • Missouri          3.1%
  • Texas              2.9%
  • Florida             2.6%
  • Ohio                2.1%

Top 10 visitor origin metropolitan areas in 2023:

  • Chicago, IL                                              21.6%
  • Green Bay-Appleton                               12.4%
  • Madison                                                    9.1%
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN                         3.5%
  • Wausau-Rhinelander                                2.8%
  • Milwaukee                                                 2.7%
  • Rockford, IL                                              2.2%
  • La Crosse-Eau Claire                               2.1%
  • St. Louis, MO                                           1.9%
  • Des Moines-Ames, IA                              1.9%
Its all connected

The Value of Tourism in Milwaukee

Since 1967, Visit Milwaukee has been working with over 950 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 43,900 people and offering a path to economic advancement.
  • Visitor Spending: In 2023, visitor spending in the Greater Milwaukee area was $3.525 billion. Much of that spending went to support the city’s hotels, restaurants and bars.
  • Tax Generation: In 2023, tourism in Milwaukee County generated $231.1 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.

2023 End-of-Year Hotel Performance

2023 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: 58%
Last Year: 56.1%
Percent Change: 3.4%


Average Daily Rate (ADR): $164.62
Last Year: $153.48
Percent Change: 7.3%


Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR): $95.47
Last Year: $86.08
Percent Change: 10.9%


Demand: 1,308,221
Last Year: 1,248,888
Percent Change: 4.7%


Revenue: $215,360,996
Last Year: $191,697,375
Percent Change: 12.3%


Milwaukee County

Occupancy: 56.8%
Last Year: 56.6%
Percent Change: 0.3%


Average Daily Rate (ADR): $133.38
Last Year: $124.27
Percent Change: 7.3%


Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR): $75.75
Last Year: $70.37
Percent Change: 7.6%


Demand: 2,811,593
Last Year: 2,771,132
Percent Change: 1.5%


Revenue: $374,998,517
Last Year: $344,370,304
Percent Change: 8.9%



Occupancy: 63%
Last Year: 62.4%
Percent Change: 0.6%


Average Daily Rate (ADR): $155.62
Last Year: $151.32
Percent Change: 4.3%


Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR): $97.97
Last Year: $93
Percent Change: 4.9%


How Does Visitor Spending Directly Impact Milwaukeeans?

In the Greater Milwaukee area, tourism supported over 43,900 full-time jobs and it generated over $353 million in state and local taxes, which means every household has $880 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.


Things to Do in Wisconsin's Largest City

Take a visit to Milwaukee and uncover all of the city’s hidden gems! Go undercover at the Safehouse and sleep in an art museum at Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel. Take a chance at Potawatomi Casino and soak up fun on the Fresh Coast at Bradford Beach. Cheer on the Brewers at American Family Field and take a ride through history at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Savor meals made with love at Twisted Plants and enjoy cocktails and cityscapes at The Outsider.


Milwaukee Fresh

What is Milwaukee Fresh? It’s the spirit of innovation and exploration that surges through a city where different cultures, ideas and perspectives continually converge. Our city sits at the confluence of three rivers and a Great Lake, so it’s no wonder that new ideas are always getting stirred up here, and that Milwaukee is a cradle for art, industry and community. The water is a source of inspiration, a place to gather and celebrate, and a thread that weaves through our diverse and vibrant communities, stitching us all together. What sparked this place to brew world-famous beer, host world-famous festivals and craft world-famous machines designed to explore the open road? It’s something in the water. It’s Milwaukee Fresh. 


Milwaukee Flavor

How do you define Milwaukee Flavor? In one sense, it’s classic: the songs, meals, gatherings and traditions arising from all the corners of a city where people from around the world came to seek community and opportunity. We celebrate those flavors; we cherish and preserve them. Yet Milwaukee Flavor isn’t static: our people are tinkerers and creators, mash-up artists and visionaries who draw inspiration from different traditions to explore bold new ideas. Perhaps not every flavor is for everyone, but as you explore our city you’ll find a place where exploration and expression are celebrated by all.


Milwaukee Forward

As we move Milwaukee Forward, what makes this city different than its peers? You’ll find the answer at Summerfest, Oktoberfest, Mitten Fest and every fest in between. You’ll see it on full display at Brewers and Bucks games, as well as throughout the small-business districts that line both our historic downtown and also our collage of vibrant communities. But here’s the thing: Milwaukee Forward isn’t about what’s on stage, but rather what surrounds you: the people, the positivity, the welcoming and generous spirit. We cheer each other on. We celebrate successes as one. We work together, we play together, we make change together. Milwaukee Forward is a joyful, continuous, community-wide project—one with an open invitation that’s got your name on it. 


Explore More About the Cream City