National Travel, Tourism Week Industry Update

MIDDLETON, Wis. — There has never been a time in modern history when the impact of tourism has been so keenly felt and easily quantified.
Tourism professionals nationwide are celebrating the Power of Travel during National Travel and Tourism Week and it is with optimism and a unique perspective of how powerful travel is to a community.

“Despite the difficulties, the industry showed remarkable resilience and the term ‘pivot’ became the mantra to all,” said Julie Peterman, director of Middleton Tourism. “The tourism industry, state and nationwide, came together to share ideas, resources and show support through a heartbreaking year that challenged individuals personally, as well as professionally.”

Hospitality workers faced job and wage losses while tourism offices cut budgets, redirected efforts to stimulate local economy growth, and in many cases, reduced staffing levels. Middleton Tourism’s staff remained intact and continues to market toward economy growth while keeping their eyes on tourism trends.

“We are encouraged by the rapid rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and trends are showing that tourism may begin its slow rebound more quickly than previously forecast,” Peterman said. “It will take years for tourism to reach the heights it experienced in 2019 — a banner year for the state of Wisconsin — but we are optimistic and ramping up for a busy summer season in Middleton.”

According to Longwoods International, 87 percent of Americans plan to travel in the next six months —some are dubbing the next few years as the Traveling Twenties as people engage in what’s being referred to as “revenge travel” to make up for the cancelled and lost plans of last year.

“It’s a great time to start planning a trip to the Good Neighbor City — whether it’s for the outdoor spaces, a shopping/spa weekend or just to enjoy the charm of the city,” Peterman said. “Middleton is open for business and we are ready to welcome visitors to our community.”
It is impossible to prepare for the future without acknowledging the past. The Power of Travel is witnessed by the effect the pandemic had on Middleton’s tourism outcomes. According to the Economic Impact of Tourism report by Tourism Economics, in 2020, visitor spending in Middleton fell by one-third, coming in at $118 million compared to $176.4 million in 2019. The largest declines in Middleton for 2020 were in lodging and recreation/entertainment spending. With gatherings banned for much of the year, and still under orders with capacity limits, this was to be expected.

Visitor spending directly supported nearly 1,350 jobs in Middleton in 2020 — down by 491 from 2019—and visitor-related spending, employment and business sales generated $26 million in state and local revenue in 2020, about $9 million less than the previous year.

In the past year, Middleton Tourism has collaborated on multiple marketing campaigns with various Middleton organizations and city departments to promote local business, as well as attractions like Pheasant Branch Conservancy, The National Mustard Museum, Pleasant View Golf Course and more.

Looking forward to the remainder of 2021 and 2022, tourism efforts will continue to support local while focusing on recovery efforts. Those recovery efforts will be galvanized by the successful vaccine rollout, consumer confidence and residential support, and future safety and health protocols.

“Following advice of the experts in health and safety, as well as tourism, Middleton Tourism will retarget our efforts in new markets in the coming year, reaching out to new regions,” Peterman said. “We think it’s important to continue to support our local economy, but we are also approaching a space in which it will be prudent for us to reengage with the traveler, as well as meeting planners, which in turn will also support our economy.”

Middleton Tourism will continue to collaborate with local organizations and city departments to promote the city to residents and visitors. For those interested in helping to promote the city, follow Middleton Tourism on facebook.com/MiddletonWI and @visit.middleton on Instagram, and take part in supporting the #PowerofTravel Sunday-Saturday, May 2-8, for National Travel and Tourism Week.

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