Wisconsin tourism officials build success on 'fun'

Tourism officials from Wisconsin's 72 counties attend Wisconsin' Governor's Conference on Tourism in Appleton (Mark Leland/WLUK)

APPLETON (WLUK) - Those in charge of promoting all that Wisconsin has to offer are gathering in Appleton. And they have plenty to be happy about. Tourism is big business in the Badger State. Governor Scott Walker says that business is growing.

“Over the last six years we've seen a 35 percent increase when it comes to economic impact in tourism in this state, that translates in to $5.2 billion,” said Walker.

Walker arrived at the three-day annual Governor's Conference on Tourism riding into the Fox Cities Exhibition Center in Appleton in a Pierce fire truck. He then highlighted various Wisconsin attractions by peeling off a number of promotional jackets he's collected traveling the state.

This summer's new Travel Wisconsin commercials were unveiled to the tourism representatives from all 72 counties. Both ads support the theme of having fun.

Tony Zgraggen, a cheese store owner in Monroe, is featured in one of the commercials yodeling. Zgraggen gave those at the convention a sample of his yodeling talent.

“It has definitely been a journey getting away from all the slogans and going to the number one travel motivator, and that is fun,” said Wisconsin's Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett.

Klett credits the industry with creating 21,500 new jobs since 2011. A key part of the success she points out is in Northeast Wisconsin.

“Appleton and the Fox Cities have been doing great in tourism for years,” said Klett. “Brown County this last year, top five of 72 counties for travel expenditures. For the first time they hit the billion dollar mark.”

In the end tourism is about making Wisconsin fun for tourists, to keep them coming back for more.

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