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Milwaukee County and the greater Milwaukee area both saw increases in tourism revenue in 2014. (PHOTO: Bobby Tanzilo)

2014 numbers show Milwaukee tourism revenue growth

According to new data released this morning by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, the greater Milwaukee area saw significant growth in tourism revenue last year.

In the greater Milwaukee area – including Milwaukee, Washington, Ozaukee and Waukesha counties – total business sales related to tourism in 2014 were estimated at $4.89 billion, a 5.6 percent increase from 2013. Tourism-supported full-time jobs increased two percent from 2013 to 49,372, in addition to total labor income, which grew to $1.54 billion earned – a 5.4 increase from the previous year. Overall, tourism-generated local and state tax revenue grew 4.6 percent from 2013, landing at $330.5 million.

Milwaukee County alone – the largest tourism economy in the state – total business sales related to tourism in 2014 were estimated at $3.2 billion, a six percent increase from 2013. Tourism-supported full-time jobs increased by 1.9 percent to roughly 30,900, while total labor income increased to $1 billion earned – a 5.6 percent growth from 2013. Tourism-generated local and state tax revenue in Milwaukee County grew by five percent, equalling $217.9 million.

Hotels additionally saw growth in 2014, with Downtown Milwaukee hotels hitting a record-setting occupancy rate of 69.5 percent and Wauwatosa hotels landing a 68.7 percent occupancy rate.

"All of these numbers translate to economic growth in our region," said Paul Upchurch, president and CEO of Visit Milwaukee in a press release. "Milwaukee offers leisure travelers, meeting planners and convention attendees unique, authentic experiences at an affordable price tag. As Milwaukee is in the news more and more for its outstanding attractions, restaurants and events, we will continue to see these numbers improve."

These estimated numbers come from "The Economic Impact of Tourism in Wisconsin," an annual tourism impact study commissioned by the state and conducted by Tourism Economics.

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