It was another stellar year for the Wisconsin Dells tourism economy. After posting a 7.7 percent growth in visitor spending in 2011, the community followed that up with a 5.98 percent growth spike for 2012. The Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau commissions an annual tourism research study, prepared by Tourism Economics, an international firm headquartered in Philadelphia and specializing in quantifying the economic value of tourism. That same firm prepares a statewide report for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Here are additional findings from the research, including a look at how Wisconsin Dells fared versus the state as a whole:

  • Direct visitor spending in Wisconsin Dells grew to $927 million in 2012, a gain of nearly 6 percent.
    •  Direct visitor spending for the state during the same period grew 4.7 percent.
  • Total business impact, both indirect and induced, grew 5.9% for a total of $1.24 billion in 2012.
  • With two years of strong spending growth, Wisconsin Dells tourism businesses began to hire – tourism businesses employed 11,845 in 2012, up 1.8 percent from the previous year.
    • Tourism employment statewide grew 1.4% in 2012.
  • Total employment supported by visitor spending in Wisconsin Dells, both direct and indirect, grew 1.7% to 15,298.
  • All tracked categories of tourism-related spending in Wisconsin Dells – lodging, food & beverage, retail, recreation and transportation – posted gains for 2012.

About the Tourism Research Model
Tourism Economics uses a conservative research model than calculates three levels of tourism impact:

  • Direct Impact: Visitor spending on recreation, lodging, restaurants and attractions.
  • Indirect Impact: The flow of a visitor’s expenditures as it is traced to food wholesalers and farmers, utilities, marketing, publishing and so on.
  • Induced Impact: The benefits to the economy as tourism employees spend their wages in the local economy, generating additional output, jobs, taxes and wages.

About Wisconsin Dells
The community of Wisconsin Dells is comprised of the City of Wisconsin Dells and the Village of Lake Delton. Its roots as a tourism community date back more than 150 years when the first visitors came for scenic tours of the Wisconsin River with towering sandstone cliffs hugging its shores. Today, Wisconsin Dells is widely recognized as “The Waterpark Capital of the World!®”