Gov. Evers hails tourism rebound, announces local investments

RICHLAND CENTER, Wis. – Governor Tony Evers says Wisconsin tourism is bouncing back as pandemic restrictions lift.

At an event in Richland Center Wednesday, Evers touted the industry, which was valued at $17.3 billion in the state last year.

September was the first month since the pandemic to bring in more money than the same month in 2019.

“That’s a lot of work,” Evers said. “By that metric, we’ve bounced back faster than our neighbors in Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.”

2019 was tourism’s biggest year on record.

Wisconsin Tourism Secretary-Designee Anne Sayers said 91% of Americans plan to travel moving forward.

The state gave over $200 million in federal COVID aid to the tourism industry.

At the event, Evers handed out the first checks of a $15 million investment.

The checks will support 120 “Destination Tourism” locations.

For Richland Center, that means an expanded digital billboard and more online marketing to attract visitors.

“Today’s announcement means that these dollars can immediately go to work to help destinations hit hard by the pandemic,” Sayers said.

Evers described tourism as a year-round project and praised workers for their efforts.

“The love they have for their towns, you can feel it,” Evers said.