Tourism Kicks Off 2017 Strong

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Klett Las Vegas

Dear Friends,


We head into 2017 on a high note after closing out another record-breaking year.  Some of our best hits of 2016 include: 

  • Online views of all Department TV ads and videos smashed records last year with more than 10 MILLION views.
  • Travel Wisconsin’s “Real Fun: Our Wisconsin Cabin Story” took the lead with 4.3 million, and our Supper Club TV commercial hit 1.4 million – a first for Travel Wisconsin.
  • Travel Wisconsin received 11 awards for marketing and public relations excellence last year, for a total of 83 awards since 2011.
  • Public relations efforts generated more than 2,000 media placements for a total of $80 million in free press.
  • The number of visitor sessions on reached an all-time high of 9.1 million, a 26% increase from 2015.
  • Tourism launched the Travel Wisconsin Supper Club Concession Stand at Lambeau Field, the first of its kind in the NFL. The stand’s opening generated $3.5 million in free press.
  • Our industry collected a record 31,697 donated items for the Big Bundle Up. 

Preparations for this year’s WIGCOT at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee, March 12-14, are full speed ahead.  I encourage you to take a look at the Governor’s Tourism Awards and consider nominating an individual or organization that deserves recognition!


This month, we welcome Kyle Goodman as our new Web and Digital Marketing Specialist. He’s been managing web design and development at Spacesaver Corporation in Fort Atkinson and is a graduate of UW-Madison.  And we congratulate Rachel Herschberger who is our new Digital Content Specialist and Photographer. She’s a graduate of UW-Madison and has worked as a limited term employee with Tourism since 2014.




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Registration is Open

Register now for the Governor’s Conference on Tourism, March 12-14 at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee. Visit for conference agenda, sponsorship opportunities, tourism award information and lodging options. Those interested in sponsoring the event are encouraged to visit the website for more details.


Governor's Tourism Award Nominations

Do you know someone who has made a significant impact on the state's tourism industry? Nominate them for the Governor's Tourism Award.  Sponsored by the Governor's Council on Tourism, the awards recognize individuals and businesses in the tourism industry that have shown dedication, creativity and excellence. All nominees will be recognized at the Tourism Awards Nominee Breakfast and the Governor will present the awards during the closing dinner. Information, award descriptions and nomination forms can be found online. The nomination deadline is Friday, Jan. 27.


Patrick J. Reinsma Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Tourism Memorial Scholarship

The Patrick J. Reinsma Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Tourism Memorial Scholarship will assist one individual in the tourism industry who would not be able attend the annual conference due to financial restrictions. The scholarship will award up to $600 annually to one applicant from any one of the 18 counties that were included in Patrick’s region at the time of his passing. Applicants who wish to apply for the 2017 scholarship need to submit their completed application by February 8, 2017. Applications are available online.


Upcoming Grant Deadlines:

February 1, 2017 is the deadline for Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) Grants. Submit your grant applications online at Contact Heidi Schultz at with questions.



Many kudos to our industry partners this month:

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      Winter Marketing Campaign

      Our winter campaign is built around the idea that a good snowstorm is the perfect reason to celebrate. And time is limited, so it’s important to get out and enjoy it while it lasts. The objective of this winter campaign is to proactively inform travelers of Wisconsin snow conditions, so many of the ads are built around weather-triggered messaging. When it snows in a certain part of the state, billboards, banners, website alerts and social media ads activate, creating the perfect storm needed to properly spread the word. Here’s how the idea of ‘real-time snow fun’ will come to a billboard, screen or radio near you this winter.

      Breaks Records

      It was another record-breaking year for The Department ended 2016 with 9.1 million sessions on the website, an increase of 26% over 2015.  Here are some top articles from the past year:


      Media Coverage


      See more coverage in the Travel Wisconsin Media Room

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      Wisconsin Department of Tourism  |  201 W Washington Ave  |  Madison, WI 53703  |  1-800-432-8747