Pandemic takes bite out of tourism

Counties across the state saw up to 30 percent less direct visitor spending in 2020 due to the pandemic. Direct visitor spending in Door County dropped 18.77 percent from 2019 to $304.2 million. It also saw double-digit percentage declines in other tourism indicators such as total business sales and taxes collected. Door County still was a top seven destination according to the state’s numbers. Jon Jarosh from Destination Door County says despite the dip, the numbers show the importance of tourism to the area.

Kewaunee County saw a 10.22 percent drop in its direct visitor spending in 2020 over the previous year to $22 million. Kewaunee County Director of Tourism Jennifer Gonzalez says outdoor recreation opportunities helped keep the area afloat.

Both Jarosh and Gonzalez are encouraged by what 2021 could bring to their respective counties as more people get vaccinated and some popular attractions and events return after a pandemic-riddled 2020. As a state, Wisconsin saw a 28 percent drop in direct visitor spending in 2020, down to $8.8 billion.  May 2nd-8th is National Travel and Tourism Week.

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