Study Finds Tourism spending in Door County Increased in 2008 Despite Gas Prices

National tourism Week

You are invited to celebrate national tourism week with the Door County Visitor Bureau (DCVB). Recent news reports, “Tourism spending in Wisconsin increased in 2008, despite flooding that swept away a popular lake, high gasoline prices and an economic downturn, according to a new study.”

Travelers spent $13.1 billion in Wisconsin in 2008, up 2.7 percent from the previous year, according to the study by Davidson-Peterson Associates of Kennebunkport, Maine. Tourism spending supported 310,000 jobs in Wisconsin and generated $2.1 billion in tax revenue for state and local governments.

Statewide, spending increased 2.9 percent for leisure travel, 1.3 percent for business travel and 3.3 percent for meetings and conventions, the report found. About 80 percent of $13.1 billion was spent on shopping, food and recreation. The rest went to lodging and transportation.

The Green Bay Press Gazette reports…

Door County saw a 19.71 percent increase in tourism spending from 2007 to 2008.

A county room tax enacted two years ago allowed the county to be better marketed within the Midwest, said Jack Moneypenny, president and chief executive officer of the Door County Visitor Bureau. He said Door County tourism took a nosedive after 2001 and stagnated for several years until it became apparent a room tax was necessary.

“We went from $200,000 a year in marketing funds to $1.7 million. If you put $1.7 million out in the marketplace, I’m hoping you will see a return on the investment.”

The county’s niche market is the Midwest.

“Ninety-five percent of our visitors come from the Midwest,” Moneypenny said.

They focused advertising in Chicago, northern Illinois, Madison, the Twin Cities, and this year an emphasis was placed on Iowa.

“There’s such a plethora of people in Iowa that nobody invites to do anything,” Moneypenny said. “They’re just kind of ignored. So many people from Iowa told us, ‘Hey, if you invite us, we’ll come.’ I’m like, ‘Well heck, we’re not stupid.’ We built a campaign where we included Iowa.”

The campaign gives good depth of reach. They were able to buy print, radio and TV advertising and have five or six touch-points in each market, he said, as opposed to saying, “We can put $20,000 in Chicago, $10,000 in Madison and hope it works.”

Things also look bright this year.

Moneypenny said they have seen a 34 percent increase in requests for visitors guides this year over last year, and a Festival of Blossoms promotion has helped give a strong kick-off to this year’s tourism season as well, he said.

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