Middleton tourism director gives 2022 tourism economic report update 

MIDDLETON, Wis. — It was a comeback story for the tourism industry in 2022 and Middleton’s good news keeps coming, according to Visit Middleton.  “Tourism…

MIDDLETON, Wis. — It was a comeback story for the tourism industry in 2022 and Middleton’s good news keeps coming, according to Visit Middleton. 

“Tourism rebounded in a big way for Middleton in 2022,” said Mari Olson, director of tourism at Visit Middleton. “And it was all led by leisure and group travel. People wanted to get out and travel, share experiences with friends and family again, and Middleton was more than happy to welcome them.” 

Recently, Olson provided a brief recap to the City of Middleton’s Common Council on the 2022 results of the Tourism Economic Impact Report, created by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company. 

Middleton tourism brought in $183 million in visitor spending through its nine hotels, food and beverage, recreation, retail and transportation, reported by Tourism Economics. Middleton visitor spending in 2022 also rose by 32 percent, a $45 million increase from 2021. This number surpassed pre-pandemic spending in 2019 by 4 percent. 

“Last year, Middleton’s lodging tax revenue was up 67.3 percent from 2021,” Olson said. “That is nearly at 2019’s revenue level, which of course we were ecstatic to see. Our second quarter last year actually surpassed 2019’s Q2.” 

According to Tourism Economics, last year, Middleton tourism supported 1,603 jobs across various industry sectors and generated $32.4 million in state and local tax revenue. 

Middleton hosts nine hotels, as well as the county’s largest convention center hotel. In addition to lodging, the city’s 70-plus dining spots, 50-plus shops, and local attractions like the National Mustard Museum and Capital Brewery & Bier Garten, make it an ideal leisure destination for day trips and weekend stays. 

“The fact that Middleton has all these wonderful options to offer visitors, from dining to shopping, definitely appeals to that leisure traveler, but we are surrounded by an award-winning golf course, more than 500 acres of gorgeous conservancy land, Lake Mendota, and we have 27 miles of trails — these aspects make us special,” Olson said. “We can really appeal to a lot of demographics in experiences-seekers.” 

“We like to say ‘it’s the middle things’ that make Middleton what it is,” she said. “As in, it’s the middle things that make this city unique, special, charming — you look around from any angle — from a sidewalk café or a kayak — and you are going to see exactly what we mean.” 

In looking at 2023, Olson said that first quarter revenue for Middleton increased by nearly 20 percent from last year and that second quarter has not been reported yet. 

“It isn’t too late to start thinking about end-of-summer plans,” she said. “And Wisconsin in the fall, there’s just no place like it. Watch our website and social channels for fall favorites around Middleton. Two words: pumpkin pyramid.” 

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Modified July 20, 2023