Greater St. Croix Valley Has Double Digit Traveler Spending Increase in 2021
State’s 2021 Tourism Spending Rises +31 Percent to $12.85 Billion
Traveler spending in St. Croix County increased from $90.3 million in 2020 to an estimated $113.3 million in 2021 (a +25.4% increase) according to an annual analysis released June 8th by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. The total economic impact from travelers in St. Croix was also up, rising from $158.1 million in 2020 to $188 million in 2021 (up +18.7%). Spending from travelers and tourists supported an estimated 1,836 jobs in the county (up +5.1% from 2020) and generated $12.8 million in state and local taxes (up +12.4% from 2020).
Statewide, travelers spent an estimated $12.85 billion in 2021, an increase of +31.1% from 2020. The total economic impact from tourists in Wisconsin during 2021 was estimated at $20.9 billion (an increase of +21% percent from 2020). Tourism and traveler-supported employment in Wisconsin in 2021 increased +7.9% to 169,707 jobs. Tourism also provided the state and local units of government with tax revenues of $1.39 billion in 2021, up from $1.16 billion in 2020 (an increase of +19.1%).
Despite the increases in 2021, traveler and tourism spending is below pre-COVID levels of 2019.
St. Croix, Polk, Pierce counties comprise the Greater St. Croix Valley in Wisconsin. Visitor spending in 2021 for the region was estimated at $241.0 million compared to $197.5 million in 2020 (a +21.5% increase). 2021 spending in the Greater St. Croix Valley includes St. Croix’s estimated $113.3 million, $96.3 million in Polk, and $31.4 million in Pierce. Because of the Greater St. Croix Valley’s close proximity to the Twin Cities metro area, many visitors from Minnesota enjoy day trips to the three counties and return to their homes without incurring lodging expenses. Local overnight stays would greatly increase traveler spending in the Greater St. Croix Valley.
The total economic impact from travelers and visitors to the Greater St. Croix Valley in 2021 was estimated at $383 million, compared to $330 million in 2020 (a +16.1% increase). Impact per county includes $188 million in St. Croix, $125 million in Polk, and $47 million in Pierce.
Tourism-related employment in the Greater St. Croix Valley for 2021 was estimated at 3,359 jobs (up +7.38% from 2020) and includes 1,836 in St. Croix, 1,097 in Polk, and 426 in Pierce.
2021 state and local tax revenue attributable to visitors and travelers in the Greater St. Croix Valley was estimated at $25.0 million (up +12.6% from 2020) and includes $12.8 million from St. Croix, $8.9 million from Polk, and $3.3 million from Pierce.
Milwaukee is the state’s top county for visitor spending, estimated at $1.77 billion in 2021. Other counties in the Top 10 includes Sauk ($1.48 billion); Dane ($1.05 billion); Waukesha ($740.1 million); Brown ($632.7 million); Walworth ($594.5 million); Door ($423.0 million); Outagamie ($312.2 million); Vilas ($268.7 million); and La Crosse ($262.6 million).
Tourism is one of Wisconsin’s top three industries along with manufacturing and agriculture.
Read the interactive summary from Tourism at https://www.industry.travelwisconsin.com/research/economic-impact/.