Economic recovery report submitted

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Dear Tourism Industry Partner,

In April, the Legislature passed a bill and the Governor signed Act 185, which addressed several issues surrounding COVID-19. The law required, “No later than June 30, 2020, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation shall submit to the legislature… and to the governor, a report that includes a plan for providing support to the major industries in this state that have been adversely affected by the COVID−19 public health emergency, including tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, forest products, construction, retail, and services.”

Yesterday, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation delivered their plan to the Legislature and the Governor. That plan can be found here. It is important to note that many stakeholders advised that assessments of the pandemic's economic consequences continue to evolve – as must any plans for a full economic recovery.

While it would be impossible to fully incorporate more than 100 outreach touchpoints and hundreds of hours of research, discussions, and survey results into 700 words, I believe this plan draws important conclusions for our economy and our industry. Namely, the plan encompasses recommendations brought to us by industry stakeholders to help tourism regain our prominent economic footing throughout Wisconsin. Those suggestions include:

  • Sustain state tourism marketing funding to drive economic recovery efforts and supplement losses from statewide DMO funding sources such as room tax, meetings & conventions, events and festivals.
  • Make permanent the Office of Outdoor Recreation to continue to bolster business and jobs growth, support healthy community development, and promote economically vital outdoor tourism statewide.
  • Invest in the Wisconsin Arts Board and its work to support the creative industries and develop Wisconsin's creative economy.
  • Ensure broadband access for businesses, residents and visitors alike, to ensure information access and commercial viability for communities across the state.
  • Expand and innovate tourism grants and provide access to low interest or interest free forgivable loans, encouraging industry innovation to improve on seasonal job fluctuation and build more sustainable year-round offerings.
  • Provide funding support to tourism-reliant businesses for personal protective equipment.

I want to thank you for your partnership and leadership in this difficult time for our industry.

Forward together,

Sara Signature

Sara Meaney