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2016 Traveler Spending Up in the Greater St. Croix Valley

State’s Tourism Spending up 3.28% to $12.31 Billion

The 2016 traveler spending in St. Croix County increased 6.6% to $106.2 million according to an annual analysis released May 5th by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. St. Croix’s $106.2 million from travelers resulted in total business sales of $176.1 million, reflecting a 5.57% increase from 2015. This spending supported an estimated 1,909 jobs (+4.39% from 2015) in St. Croix and generated $13.4 million in state and local tax revenues (+%.47% from 2015).

Statewide, travelers spent an estimated $12.31 billion in 2016, a 3.28% increase from 2015.  Total business sales from tourists were estimated at $1.9967 billion (+3.5% increase from 2015).  Tourism and traveler-supported employment in Wisconsin in 2016 was estimated at 193,454 jobs (+1.44% from 2015). Tourism also provided the state with tax revenues of $1.505 billion in 2016 (+2.47% increase from 2015).

St. Croix, Polk, Pierce, and Dunn counties comprise the Greater St. Croix Valley. Visitor spending in 2016 for the 4-county region was estimated at $261.20 million compared to $253.3 million in 2015 (a 3.12% increase from 2015). In addition to St. Croix’s estimated $106.2 million, 2016 visitor and traveler spending in Polk increased to $83.6 million (+1.88% from 2015). Spending in Dunn County for 2016 was estimated at $45.5 million, compared to $46.7 million in 2015 (a 2.74% decline). Pierce County’s spending from travelers increased to $25.9 million from 24.9 in 2015 (+4.05%). Because of the Greater St. Croix Valley’s proximity to the 16-county Twin Cities metro area, many visitors enjoy day trips to the Valley and return to their homes without incurring expenses on lodging. Overnight stays would certainly increase traveler spending in the Great St. Croix Valley.

Total business sales from travelers and visitors to the Greater St. Croix Valley in 2016 were estimated at $433.7 million compare to $419.1 million in 2015 (a +3.48% increase). Business sales in St. Croix County were estimated at $176.1 million (+5.57% increase from 2015), followed by $126.7 million in Polk (+2.61% increase from 2015), $81.0 million in Dunn (+0.14% from 2015), and $49.9 million in Pierce (+4.16% from 2015).

Tourism-related employment in the Greater St. Croix Valley for 2016 was estimated at 4,249 jobs (+1.89% from 2015). In addition to the estimated 1,909 tourism-related jobs in St. Croix, there were 1,070 in Polk (+1.0% from 2015), 849 in Dunn (-1.06% from 2015), and 421 in Pierce (-0.27% from 2015).

State and local tax revenues attributable to visitors and travelers in the Greater St. Croix Valley for 2016 were estimated at $31.2 million (+2.63% from 2015). Tax revenues in St. Croix were estimated at $13.4 million, followed by Polk with $8.8 million, Dunn with $5.9 million, and Pierce with $3.1 million.

Milwaukee is the state’s top county for visitor spending estimated at $1.931 billion. The other counties in the Top 10 include Dane ($1.213 billion in visitor spending); Sauk ($1.047 billion); Waukesha ($742.9 million); Brown ($637 million); Walworth ($528.9 million); Door ($347.8 million); Outagamie ($339.5 million); La Crosse ($248.1million); and  Winnebago (242.5 million).

Tourism is one of Wisconsin’s top three industries along with manufacturing and agriculture.

For additional information, or to read the 2016 Economic Impact of Tourism in Wisconsin go to http://industry.travelwisconsin.com/research/economic-impact and select the topic: “County Total Impact”.