MIDDLETON, Wis. — National Travel and Tourism Week kicked off Sunday, May 3, throughout the country for a weeklong recognition of the contributions and accomplishments of the U.S. travel industry, while encouraging others to celebrate the Spirit of Travel through social media.
As tourism and hospitality workers look back at 2019, they’ll remember a banner year in tourism for the state of Wisconsin.
It might seem strange to draw attention to travel during a time of social distancing – but if there is one positive and solid truth that last year has reinforced, it is that people love the state of Wisconsin and when they can, they will return.
The numbers prove it.
According to Tourism Economics, Dane County reported $1.4 billion in visitor spending last year and $172 million in state and local tax revenue, while supporting nearly 15,000 jobs. Middleton tourism supported 1,836 jobs and brought in $176 million in visitor spending through its seven hotels, food and beverage, recreation, and transportation. State and local governments gained $35 million in tax revenue through Middleton tourism.
For years, visitors have flocked to the Midwestern city just west of the state’s capital to enjoy its 80 restaurants, 60 shops and charming downtown, as well as Pleasant View Golf Course, Lake Mendota and Pheasant Branch Conservancy. The city offers leisure to those who wish to relax and enjoy Wisconsin shopping and cuisine, and outdoor activities for those who long to be on the trails, the course or the water.
However, Middleton has experienced a decline in visitors the past few months. The impact of COVID 19 on the travel and tourism industry is being felt by businesses statewide. Despite the uncertainty for the months ahead, there is confidence that visitors will come back to Middleton once it’s safe to do so.
“We know that 2020 will present new opportunities,” said Julie Peterman, director of tourism in Middleton. “Travelers will be looking for destinations that offer a variety of new experiences. We believe we can build on the success of the previous years, factor in current circumstances, and be optimistic about years to come. When people can – they are going to want to travel again in a big way and Middleton will be ready.”
For now, Middleton Tourism has pivoted from promoting outside travel to supporting local businesses.
“One of our current strategies is promoting Shop Local through curbside pickup, delivery and online shopping,” Peterman said. “Many Middleton businesses have managed to stay in operation by offering one or both of these and we’re working with local partners to support their efforts.”
As for now, people have every reason to continue to dream of where they will go next.
They’re always welcome in Middleton.
Follow Middleton Tourism through its social channels, www.facebook.com/MiddletonWI and at visit.middleton on Instagram, and take part in supporting the #SpiritOfTravel Sunday-Saturday, May 3-9, for National Travel and Tourism Week.