MOSES conference could have $3M impact on La Crosse area’s economy

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)– About 2,700 people are in town for the MOSES Organic Farming Conference this week.  All the additional visitors means big business for the La Crosse area.

Nick Alt traveled about 180 miles from Whitewater for the conference.

“I work for Alltech. We work with ingredients that go to the organic world,” said Alt, who was attending the conference.

Being from out of town, he’s staying overnight.

“I actually stayed in Prairie du Chien last night because the hotel I wanted to stay at here is booked full. Solid,” Alt said.

There are other expenses like food and drinks. In all, he thinks he’ll spend around $250 on the trip.

But Alt’s experience could differ from someone else’s. Ben Morgan with Explore La Crosse says it is hard to get an exact amount, but there is a way to make a good estimate of how much people will spend.

“The state of Wisconsin’s Department of Tourism has really zoned in and helped us key on a few things that’s almost become an industry standard for the state,” said Morgan, director of group sales and sports services for Explore La Crosse.

Using studies and other calculations, the experts have figured out roughly what people spend if they’re local versus coming from out of town. Depending on where they fall, that changes how much they spend on lodging.

“If they’re staying Wednesday through Saturday at a hotel, that’s a lot of hotel room nights that are adding up,” Morgan said.

It also influences what they pay for food.

“It could be a meal, it could be two meals, could be three meals, could be a stop at the convenience store,” Morgan said.

And if attendees have free time, some might stop for a souvenir.

“You’ve got all the downtown shops that people are still going to,” Morgan and.

If you took all this data and added it all together, the MOSES conference could have an estimated $3 million impact on the community. Not only do hotels, restaurants, bars and other shops feel the impact of this spending, events and conferences make a lot of tax money. According to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, La Crosse County made $34.2 million in state and local taxes based on tourism spending in 2018.