Next Stop: Fox Cities Expo Center

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wisconsin department of tourism
travel wisconsin news


Stephanie Klett

Hello Friends,

Registration is now live for the 2018 Governor’s Conference on Tourism, which will be held March 11-13 at the new Fox Cities Exhibition Center and Radisson Paper Valley Hotel.  I had the opportunity to participate in the ribbon cutting ceremonies and tour the facility.  The new $31 million Expo Center is a terrific asset for the Fox Cities and we’re thrilled that the Tourism Conference will be one of their first events. 

This year’s conference theme is Destination Success and we have some dynamic keynote speakers. On Monday, Governor Walker will kick off the conference and we’ll debut our 2018 summer ad campaign. We couldn’t be more excited to host Chris Gardner, author of The Pursuit of Happyness. His inspirational story was the basis of the movie starring Will Smith. Emmy Award-winning TV veteran Katrina Cravy will give an insider’s perspective on how to earn free publicity. Keynote speaker Elise Roy is an expert in human-centered design and practices to create barrier-free environments inclusive to all people regardless of ability. Joe Veneto, founder of Opportunities Unlimited, will address how experiences are the currency of 21st century consumers. Don’t wait to register, early bird registration ends February 9.

As you know, there is a growing need to address the current and future workforce needs of the state.  The tourism industry is like other sectors of the economy, we all need good employees to be successful.  Governor Walker has advanced a Workforce Agenda, calling for more worker training, removal of barriers to work, and a national campaign to attract and retain talent.  Legislation is now pending that will fund a talent attraction campaign targeting Midwestern millennials, Wisconsin alumni, and veterans transitioning to civilian life.

This month, we welcomed Hilary Igl as the new Digital Content Specialist managing our digital assets and assisting with photo and video shoot planning. Hilary has a journalism degree from UW- Whitewater and has been working with a local photography company.  She takes over for Jonathan Eckelberg, who is now the Department’s Executive Producer. His responsibilities include coordinating production operations for TV commercials, photography and videography across all our marketing programs. 

I’m also pleased to announce that Linda Anderson will be our Marketing Relationship and Project Coordinator. She is overseeing publication development, non-campaign related marketing buys, and special promotions like the Snowmobile Sweepstakes.

Looking forward to seeing you at WIGCOT!




Congratulations to the 55th annual World Championship Snowmobile Derby! Last weekend, Eagle River hosted thousands of sledders and spectators and more than 1,400 participants competed for a title in snowmobile, vintage snowmobile and ATV/UTV racing during the sport’s signature event. Hats off to the largest and most prestigious snowmobile competition in the sport! 

    WIGCOT Icon


    Registration for this year’s conference is now open! Visit for the conference agenda, sponsorship opportunities and lodging options. Those interested in sponsoring the event are encouraged to visit the website for more details.

    Patrick J. Reinsma WIGCOT Memorial Scholarship

    Applications are open for the Patrick J. Reinsma Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Tourism Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship assists one individual in the tourism industry who would not be able attend WIGCOT due to financial restrictions. Click here for scholarship application and criteria. Deadline to apply is Feb. 2, 2018.

    Excited for WIGCOT 2018? Follow @WIDeptTourism for conference updates!


    Governor’s Council on Tourism

    The Governor’s Council on Tourism kicked-off 2018 with the election of Council officers. This year’s officers are: Council Chair Paul Upchurch, Vice Chair Brian Kelsey and Secretary James Bolen. The council also welcomed Joe Klimczak to the Marketing Committee.

    Grant Updates

    Back by popular demand! We will be offering a repeat presentation of December’s grant webinars highlighting our four grant programs and the online application process. The webinar will be offered on Wednesday, Feb. 7 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Contact Heidi Schultz at by Friday, Feb. 2 to reserve your spot.

    February 1 is the deadline to apply for a Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant. Information and applications are available here.


        SNOW MEANS GO Snowmobile Giveaway

        The snow has fallen, and the trails are groomed. All that's missing is you! Now through Feb. 28, enter our SNOW MEANS GO Snowmobile Giveaway for a chance to win your very own snowmobile!

        Winter Marketing Overview

        The Department is bringing back its successful weather-triggered messaging. When it snows in certain parts of the state, banners, website alerts and social media ads activate to create the “perfect storm” needed to spread the word. When it’s not snowing, we’re busy promoting the many indoor winter activities the state has to offer. Find out more on our Marketing Overview page

        Spring/Summer Events Guides

        The 2018 Spring/Summer Events Guides are in! Place your bulk order today by calling 1-800-432-8747, or order individual guides online.

        Circle Wisconsin Motorcoach Co-Op

        The Department of Tourism and Circle Wisconsin have partnered to offer a co-op print program in 2018. Don’t miss out on this amazing cost-saving opportunity to promote your business to active tour operators and planners. Click here for more information, or contact please contact Wendy Dobrzynski at

        Travel Wisconsin Deals Program

        Our updated Deals Program will help you advertise your promotions in a more effective way. With the launch of the new page, we’ve updated this co-op offering to drive more traffic to your site. Contact Elise Bayer at Laughlin Constable with questions.


        Holiday Train

        The CP Holiday Train Coming to Wisconsin

        Cheese Shops

        7 Hole-in-the-Wall Cheese Shops You Can't Miss

        New Year

        A Festive Wisconsin New Year's Eve


        vote here

        • Speedy snowmobile trail
        • Tasty cheese trail
        • Exhilarating fat bike trail
        • Serene snowshoe trail

        Last Month's Result

        Last month, 57% said a local fireworks show was their favorite quirky New Year’s Eve event in Wisconsin!