2018 traveler spending in St. Croix County increased to $117.7 million (+6.51% from 2017) according to an annual analysis released May 6 by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. St. Croix's $117.7 million from travelers resulted in total business sales of $193 million, reflecting a 5.71% increase from 2017. This spending supported an estimated 2,037 jobs in St. Croix (+3.94% from 2017) and generated $14.6 million in state and local tax revenues (+4.76% from 2016).
Statewide, travelers spent an estimated $13.318 billion in 2018, a 4.86% increase from 2017. Total business sales from tourists were estimated at $21.571 billion (+4.68% increase from 2017). Tourism and traveler-supported employment in Wisconsin in 2018 was estimated at 199,073 jobs (+1.67% from 2017). Tourism also provided the state with tax revenues of $1.581 billion in 2018 (+2.64% increase from 2017).
St. Croix, Polk, Pierce, and Dunn counties comprise the Greater St. Croix Valley. Visitor spending in 2018 for the four-county region was estimated at $292.0 million compared to $272.4 million in 2017 (+7.19% from 2017). In addition to St. Croix's estimated $117.7 million, 2018 visitor and traveler spending in Polk increased to $91.7 million from $87.3 million (+5.06% from 2017). Spending in Dunn County for 2018 was estimated at $52.9 million, compared to $45.8 million in 2017 (+15.48% from 2017). Pierce County's spending from travelers increased to 29.7 million from $28.7 million in 2017 (+3.62%). Because of the Greater St. Croix Valley's close proximity to the 16-county Twin Cities metro area, many visitors enjoy day trips to the Valley and return to their homes without incurring expenses on lodging. Overnight stays would greatly increase traveler spending in the Greater St. Croix Valley.
Total business sales from travelers and visitors to the Greater St. Croix Valley in 2018 were estimated at $477.9 million compared to $450.2 million in 2017 (a +6.15% increase). Business sales in St. Croix County were estimated at $193 million (+5.71% increase from 2017), followed by $138.2 million in Polk (+4.87% increase from 2017), $91.2 million in Dunn (+10.6% from 20167, and $55.5 million in Pierce (4.08% from 2017).
Tourism-related employment in the Greater St. Croix Valley for 2018 was estimated at 4,504 4,325 jobs (+4.14% from 2017). In addition to the estimated 2,037 tourism-related jobs in St. Croix, there were 1,138 in Polk (+3.48% from 2017), 881 in Dunn (+5.13% from 2017), and 448 in Pierce (+2.66% from 2017).
State and local tax revenues attributable to visitors and travelers in the Greater St. Croix Valley for 2018 were estimated at $33.9 million (+5.6% from 2017). Tax revenues in St. Croix were estimated at $14.6million, followed by Polk with $9.5 million, Dunn with $6.4 million, and Pierce with $3.4 million.
Milwaukee is the state's top county for visitor spending estimated at $2.1 billion. The other counties in the Top 10 include Dane ($1.31 billion in visitor spending); Sauk ($1.13 billion); Waukesha ($823.9 million); Brown ($696.5 million); Walworth ($569.0 million); Door ($366.6 million); Outagamie ($361.7 million); La Crosse ($279.0 million); and Winnebago (254.2 million).
Tourism is one of Wisconsin's top three industries along with manufacturing and agriculture.
For additional information, or to read the 2018 Economic Impact of Tourism in Wisconsin go to industry.travelwisconsin.com/research/economic-impact and select the topic: "County Total Impact."