Viaje a Wisconsin!

By: Justin Ware
By: Justin Ware

A TV commercial, put together by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, is about to go before one–and–a–half million Spanish–speakers in the Chicago area.

"We needed to be in that market with a welcoming message to come on into Wisconsin," said Jim Holperin, Wisconsin department of tourism secretary.

Holperin says the Latino travel market in Chicago is virtually untapped right now.

With how much that population is growing ... and with how close Wisconsin is, he says that has to change.

And the TV ad, is a big step toward doing that.

"They're an up-and-coming market and we need to be in front of that potential market with a warm welcome to come to Wisconsin," said Holperin.

Latino advocate Peter Munoz says a 'warm welcome' is just as important as any ad campaign.

Munoz says the Madison community has been very open to all minorities, but the same has not been true in other parts of the state.

"Reaching out to Latinos is very smart, it makes sense," said Munoz, "but we need to welcoming of those customers if we want them here."

Munoz says he's hoping more Wisconsinites will openly embrace Hispanic travelers.

Both for the good of the state, and, so more Chicago–area Latinos can have the same experience he did with his family.

"We lived in Chicago for many years and we came up here to Wisconsin to recreate, to vacation and that's how we ended up in Wisconsin," said Munoz.

The announcement about the ad came out yesterday ... the same day as all the immigration protests.

But state officials say that was just a coincidence.

The ad campaign has been in the planning long before the protests.

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