Winter weather dents Wisconsin’s tourism revenue

Specialists say the Chippewa Valley has potential for growth during winter months

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©Annemarie Payson 2019

Roads such as this one in Carson Park remain open, but are seeing very little traffic for recreational activities.

The recent record-breaking snowfall took a toll on Wisconsin’s tourism, especially in the northern part of the state. According to the National Weather Service, the sudden burst of more than 50 inches of snow in February alone means manys people aren’t willing to get outside.

Linda John, executive director of Visit Eau Claire, said snowfall isn’t the only factor affecting tourism.

“Anytime that we don’t get snow, that is going to hurt winter tourism,” John said. “But also when it is too cold, that is going to impact tourism as well. And really both of those things have been coming into play for us this winter.”

The month of November, December, January and February are the lowest amount of tourism spending depending on room tax collections on the entire year. We do see the winter tourism months have the most potential for growth in that area. I also think lots of opportunities that we can further try to develop.

Regional Tourism Specialist  for Wisconsin Andrew Nussbaum said snowmobiling often flies under the radar. Nussbaum says the winter sport brings income and economic value to Wisconsin counties.

“One of the things I point out is, when you see you a truck coming up the highway with 2 sleds, 4 sleds just in equipment right there,” Nussbaum said. “Of course they have to buy a trail pass to ride the trails in Wisconsin, they also have to buy fuel, and while they are here they are going to stay in a lodge, a resort, eat out every day, probably have some beverages.”