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La Crosse County ranks No. 9 in tourism spending



A $16 million increase in tourism revenue in La Crosse County since a year ago is cause for celebration at the county’s Convention Bureau.

Director A.J. Frels suggests that the increase in county tourism spending may reflect the investment of more money into advertising the region to people in far-flung markets, such as Chicago and Minneapolis.

Although La Crosse County remains at No. 9 among all 72 Wisconsin counties with $264 million in spending, eighth-ranked Outagamie County remains $84 million ahead.

Frels, however, said that gap is a little smaller — he said it was $90 million after the 2016 report.

La Crosse has just hosted one of its busiest sports weekends of the year, featuring a half-marathon and bicycle racing.

Those activities help bring many visitors to western Wisconsin, as an important factor in recent rises in tourism spending here.

Frels says the La Crosse area’s variety of outdoor recreation is appealing to people living in bigger cities.

“You are looking for what you don’t have at home and that goes for anybody when they travel,” he said. “So, when you’re living in the city, should I say, you’re looking for a little elbow room, a chance to get out and hike and bike and canoe and kayak and boat.”

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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