PULSE OF TOURISM: Exchange Students Help Fill Worker Gap

We are so fortunate to live in Door County, with so many events and opportunities to experience arts, culture, history and recreational activities, along with enjoying our unique restaurants, breweries, wineries and shopping. Our visitor-center team has been busy welcoming visitors and providing the information and support they need to make the most of those experiences while they’re here. 

With workforce shortages affecting nearly every industry, we are fortunate to see the return of international-exchange participants in the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program. Having these students who are eager to work during our busiest months often means the difference between being able to exceed customer expectations and having to close unexpectedly during peak season. 

We are grateful to see program participation return to Door County so strongly, with 497 exchange visitors joining forces with their American counterparts to provide support in almost 1,000 seasonal positions that needed filling throughout our communities this summer. The opportunity to learn more about each other supports U.S. diplomacy efforts to promote peace through mutual understanding and friendship, which is why the Summer Work Travel program is so important.

Participation in the program is also growing in Door County. Through our collective efforts – because of people like you – our students feel welcome, safe and valued here. They also return home with stories that encourage others to choose Door County for their SWT program over the allure of destinations closer to New York or California. 

Please take a moment to introduce yourself and thank them for being here – there is so much that we can learn from each other. 

As a community partner, we are working closely with the Tourism Zone Commission to build out our strategic plan for 2023 and beyond with Destination Door County board members and Tourism Zone commissioners who make up our Strategic Planning Committee. This will be a continual process to ensure full transparency and understanding for the benefit of our community. 

We will also be working closely with our community business association partners throughout the county. Their contributions and how we work together are essential for the mutual success of all. It is such a great way to continue building collaboration and developing opportunities that can benefit everyone throughout the peninsula.

We announced in May that Destination Door County is no longer a membership organization. That means that any business located in Door County can become a partner. As an inclusive organization, we support a vibrant business community, a healthy local economy and a renewed sense of place for all of us who call Door County home. We will continue to focus our efforts on sustainable travel to ensure that we preserve Door County’s way of life and its natural resources. It is an integral part of how we will move forward.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions to help us continue growing in a positive direction. 

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