Tourists Make Up for Lost Time, Flock to Wisconsin Destinations Once Again

It is a pivotal moment for Wisconsin’s tourism industry.

A significant part of the state’s economy, tourism was one of the hardest-hit sectors during the pandemic. But now, with the vaccine readily available, communities open for business, and pent-up travel demand, Wisconsinites are hitting the road this summer after more than a year of sticking close to home. In the latest episode of the TDA On The Go Podcast, Executive Director Debby Jackson speaks with Romy Snyder, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau, about the trends Snyder sees in the Dells and her optimism for the future of the industry.

“The pent-up demand for travel has just been off the charts,” said Snyder, referring to leisure travel and tourism. “We continually hear stories of people with family members who have not seen each other for a year who are reuniting, celebrating – celebrating everything they couldn’t celebrate all of last year, basically.”

Snyder pointed out that convention and sports travel are rebounding more slowly than leisure travel as those events require longer planning times, but she sees movement in those areas as well.

The Wisconsin Dells, a target destination for many, welcomes between 4 and 5 million visitors annually and brings in nearly 10% of all tourism spending in the state. Dells’ direct visitor spending in 2019, a record-breaking year, was about $1.2 billion, with tourism supporting more than 16,000 jobs.  

Tourism is big business in Wisconsin, generating billions of dollars in economic activity.  And whether visitors are coming to Wisconsin from out of state or residents are enjoying the beautiful Badger State, safe, efficient transportation plays a critical role.

With travel picking up, Snyder recommends everyone plan ahead, including making reservations and buying tickets online. “You’re on vacation, so relax and have a good time,” she concluded.

Listen to TDA’s On The Go podcast here.

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