In an effort to draw more visitor dollars to the state, Travel Wisconsin seeks to spend more on marketing efforts in as many as three additional media markets in the Midwest or other parts of the country.
The Department of Tourism has requested that the Joint Committee on Finance allocate $781,800 in each year of the 2019-21 biennium to the department’s general marketing purposes fund, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
The budget committee will take up the request Wednesday.
If approved, funds would be used to expand the department’s 2020 and 2021 marketing efforts into up to three additional media markets. More than 30 possible locations were identified as places where frequent web searches of Wisconsin tourism are made and from which visitors most often travel.
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Currently, the department’s out-of-state advertising efforts are focused largely on Chicago, Minneapolis and St. Louis.
Thirty-one possible cities are listed in the new document. Of those, 14 are from neighboring states Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan. Six are from other Midwest states such as Indiana and Ohio and 11 are from other regions ranging from Los Angeles to New York. Many of the cities from other regions have direct flights to Madison or Milwaukee.
The department plans to use most of the requested funds on television ads with the rest going to digital platforms targeted toward audiences sought by the department, internet searches, social media and public relations, according to the fiscal bureau report.
In May, Travel Wisconsin reported direct tourism spending in 2018 increased 4.86% from 2017 to $13.3 billion with an overall economic impact of $21.5 billion, an increase of 4.68% from 2017.
The state’s tourism industry accounted for 199,073 jobs, an increase of 1.67%, that paid out $5.5 billion in wages, an increase of 2.43%, while tourism also contributed $1.5 billion in state and local taxes, an increase of 2.6 percent over 2017.
Travel Wisconsin also reports the state generates $7 in tax revenue for every $1 spent on promotional advertising. In addition, visitors spend $89 in the state for every dollar spend on tourism advertising.