MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin visitors spent almost $10.5 billion last year at places like restaurants and hotels – 4.7 percent more than the previous year.
The state Tourism Department released the figures Friday morning.
The report says over 130,000 employees served business and leisure travelers in the Badger State in 2012. About 47,000 of those jobs were in the food and beverage trade.
Another 32,000 were in the lodging business. The rest were in the retail, recreation, and entertainment sectors.
88 percent of the state’s tourist revenues came from leisure travelers – and 68 percent were from folks who stayed overnight.
As always, Milwaukee is the Number 1 tourist attraction. Visitors spent over $1.6 billion in Milwaukee County last year. Dane County and Madison had the second-highest visitor spending, at almost a billion dollars.
Sauk County, which includes much of the Wisconsin Dells attractions, was third at $857 million. Waukesha County, which has a tourist spillover from Milwaukee, was 4th. Brown County, home of the Green Bay Packers, ranked 5th.
Governor Scott Walker said the travel industry continues to be strong in Wisconsin.