Wisconsin Tourism Economy Grows Almost 8 Percent

Posted Friday, May 4, 2012 --- 4:00 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's tourism economy grew by nearly 8 percent last year.

A study for the Department of Tourism says the state saw a 7.6 percent rise in visitors from 2010. And visitor spending of $10 billion generated $16 billion in total business sales, up 7.6 percent from $14.8 billion in 2010.

More than 95 million people visited Wisconsin, supporting 181,000 jobs. Lodging sales increased 18 percent from 2009. Visitors generated $1.3 billion in state and local revenue and $950 million in federal taxes in 2011. Spending from visitors increased more than 20 percent in Columbia, Fond du Lac and Monroe Counties.

Last year's "Picture the Fun" advertising campaign motivated more than 2.1 million visits, helping to generating an additional $257 million in tourism spending and $22 million in tax revenue.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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