The month of July may be ending, but there’s plenty of time left for tourism in Wisconsin this summer, which follows a 2022 tourism season where La Crosse County saw a double-digit rise in revenue from visitors.
The county measured an economic impact of $489 million from tourist spending, up 13 per cent from the previous year, according to state tourism figures. A.J. Frels of the Explore La Crosse bureau says people have had the urge to travel around Wisconsin since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People were pent up, they wanted to get out,” Frels tells WIZM News. “Leisure travel came back, with just fantastic response. We were the type of, and continue to be the type of destination the people enjoy, they could get out and do those outdoor activities.”
Frels says nearly 4000 jobs in the county are connected to the tourism business. La Crosse County continues to rank among Wisconsin’s top 10 counties for tourism revenue, steady at number 9.
Big riverboats will continue stops in La Crosse this week. The Viking cruise ship is due at Riverside Park on Friday, and the American Queen paddlewheeler, just here last week, returns on Saturday. Frels says people riding the big boats love the city’s downtown, and adds that it’s a good time for tourism in general for many cities in the region, including the Twin Cities and Chicago.
State figures show that direct visitor spending in La Crosse County rose just above $300 million in 2022, for a 16 per cent rise from the previous year.