Visitor spending in Door County was down $50 million in 2009 from 2008, a 11 percent drop, according to figures released by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism today.
While the peninsula’s room tax returns were down just .5 percent last year, the WDT figures confirm what many retailers experienced. People still traveled to the county, they simply didn’t spend as much on food, retail, or activities once they got here.
Tourism expenditures declined in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and Door County’s drop was on par with similar tourist destinations across the state. Of the top destinations, Waukesha County saw the most drastic decline, at 15.1 percent, While Brown (12.31), Walworth (11.4), and Milwaukee County (11.23) each suffered steeper declines than Door County. Only Dane County, which includes Madison, and Sauk County saw more modest declines, at 4.64 and 3.55 percent each. Statewide spending was $12.09 billion, down 7.8 percent from 2008, making tourism the state’s 3rd largest industry.
Though down from 2008, the $430 million total is still $26 million higher than reported in 2007, and generated $159.6 million in wages and income, supporting 7,563 full-time equivalent jobs. Door County again ranked sixth in the state in tourism spending.
Tourism numbers come from an annual survey of lodging facilities and travelers produced by Davidson-Peterson Associates. For more on how the numbers are compiled, click here.
County | 2009 Spending | 2008 Spending | % Change
Milwaukee | $1,533,477,285 | $1,727,456,597 | -11.23
Dane | $1,179,633,744 | $1,236,982,374 | -4.64
Sauk | $1,013,574,388 | $1,050,885,464 | -3.55
Waukesha | $580,494,458 | $683,310,671 | -15.05
Brown | $489, 073,315 | $557,723,866 | -12.31
Door | $430,501,669 | $483,861,040 | -11.03
Walworth | $370,505,186 | $416,962,009 | -11.4