When we think of travel, we often think of a fond memory of visiting somewhere new. Whether across the country or across the state, we commit every second of those trips to vivid memory, remembering who we were with and why it will forever hold a special place in our hearts. It is a special bond to a place and moment in time that is immeasurable. Yet, during National Travel and Tourism Week, it is as important to look at the role of travel and tourism in our local economy.
Over the course of the pandemic, travel and tourism came to the fore as a central cog in the Milwaukee economy. As the largest tourism driver in the state, in 2019 the city infused roughly $6 billion dollars in economic impact to the local economy, supporting over 52,000 jobs. During the pandemic, however, the travel and tourism industry still managed to create $2.5 billion in visitor spending, including $821 million in restaurant spending and $264 million on lodging.
The travel and tourism industry causes ripples throughout the local economy that became shockwaves during the pandemic. Touching everything from the hotel industry to the retail industry, tourism drives new revenue and jobs to just about every industry.
In the recovery effort, few industries are as important as travel and tourism. With the ability to drive new visitors, bring new events, and create millions of jobs, the industry is at the forefront of driving economic growth and ensuring that industries such as hospitality return stronger than ever before.
As a convention and visitors bureau, VISIT Milwaukee draws new visitors to our city every day. From conventions like the Midwest Gaming Classic to large-scale sporting events like the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, we attract thousands of attendees, corresponding to millions of dollars in economic impact to the region from room nights, meals, and leisure spending.
Beyond conventions, we act as a resource for the more than 23 million visitors that come to Milwaukee each year. Providing visitors with itineraries, inspiration planning, and events, we showcase all that our city has to offer. These visitors bolster our hospitality community and boost the greater Milwaukee economy.
So, during National Travel and Tourism Week, we look to celebrate the importance of the industry, but also the resolve and resiliency that it has employed over the past couple of years. Tourism remains at the very heart of the local economy, making travel an absolutely vital part of our community.