VernonReporter

State Representative Oldenburg legislative update

Tourism in the 2023-2025 Wisconsin state budget

Editorial Column by Representative Oldenburg (R-Viroqua) 

Tourism is among the top economic drivers in Wisconsin, providing almost 175,000 full and part time jobs in the industry. Outdoor recreation alone generates $8.7 billion dollars in revenue for the state. In order to keep visitors coming back to Wisconsin, the Legislature invested in tourism marketing, park maintenance, and outdoor recreation in this year’s state budget. 

Regarding tourism marketing, included in the budget is a one time, $20 million dollar investment into the Department of Tourism’s marketing and advertising funds. This is the largest increase in state history for this department. Last year there were over 110 million visits to Wisconsin, with this historical funding I am hopeful we can attract even more visitors to our beautiful state.  

Wisconsin’s state parks are crucial to the tourism industry, which is why $29 million dollars has been allocated for park maintenance and updates. These updates include campsite electrification, improving existing amenities, and developing new projects to expand the activities our parks have to offer. Having our state parks and forests in the best condition possible will help visitors realize why Wisconsin is a great place to vacation, work, and live.  

The continuation of the Office of Outdoor Recreation was also included in this year’s state budget. This office helps connect tourism businesses to those in the outdoor recreation industry, it also serves as a resource for visitors looking for activities on our state’s lakes and rivers, on hiking and biking trails, and on our ski hills in the winter. I am pleased by the continuation of this office, as the 96th has an abundance of natural areas for visitors to explore.  

Whether you’re enjoying the Wisconsin State Fair or visiting the Mississippi River, our state’s tourism offers a unique array of experiences to its’ visitors. By expanding marketing efforts, we can continue to compete with our neighboring Midwestern states.  Investing in our state parks and keeping the outdoor recreation industry strong will help accommodate our state’s visitors once they arrive.  

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