Gov. Tony Evers and Tourism Secretary-designee Sara Meaney paid a visit Tuesday to Island Outdoors in the town of Campbell.

A.J. Frels


Here to celebrate Tourism Week, they brought with them some great news for the state of Wisconsin and La Crosse County.

In 2018, the state saw an increase in direct tourism spending of 4.86% to $13.3 billion with an overall economic impact of $21.5 billion, an increase of 4.68%, according to a report released last week.

La Crosse County tourism remains ahead of the state average, retaining its Number 9 spot out of 72 counties statewide.

La Crosse County reported growth of 5.82% in direct visitor spending in 2018 compared with 2017.

That is an increase from $263.8 million to $279 million in direct visitor spending in just one year, making it the second highest percentage of increase out of the top 10-ranking counties in Wisconsin.

Gov. Evers and the Department of Tourism announced plans to focus on promoting outdoor recreation.

From my perspective, what La Crosse County has to offer aligns perfectly with the department’s direction.

Explore La Crosse is proud to promote the city of Onalaska, the village of West Salem, the town of Campbell, the village of Holmen and the city of La Crosse, as well as the entire county, all of which are rich in outdoor recreation opportunities.

We have an extremely dedicated Board of Directors who are committed to guiding and supporting our team. I am especially proud of the Explore La Crosse staff and all their hard work.

Like so many of us who live here, they take great pride in the area and what we have to offer.

In La Crosse County, we have a countywide collaboration that drives tourism as part of the creative and energetic public/private partnerships that take place every day.

We are fortunate to have a vibrant private sector. We have some of the most committed business people in the state, if not in the entire Midwest. By partnering to tie their business drive with the drive everyone has to improve our county and take care of where we live, we truly have the best of both worlds.

We are proud of the growth and success we have seen, and we look forward to welcoming even more visitors in the years to come.

La Crosse County has a unique combination of attractions, physical beauty, and talented people. This combination and our continued cooperative partnerships will ensure successful growth.

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A.J. Frels is executive director of Explore La Crosse.


(1) comment


Hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue to the area and yet the naysayers will gripe about expanding the LaCrosse Center. But that's the same crowd that doesn't like facts about anything.

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