2004 Tourism Spending Remains Strong
Visitors to the Greater Milwaukee Area spent more than $2.4 billion in 2004, maintaining tourism's ranking as the number two industry in the region. The industry also supported 61,219 full-time equivalent jobs, $1.4 billion in wages and contributed $385 million in state and local taxes.
These numbers come from the Economic Impact of Expenditures by Travelers on the Greater Milwaukee Area Calendar Year 2004, a tourism economic impact study conducted by Davidson-Peterson Associates, Inc. and commissioned by VISIT Milwaukee. According to the study, Greater Milwaukee Area tourism spending kept pace with 2003 figures, experiencing a slight decline of just 0.8 percent. The study focused on traveler expenditures in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties.
The majority of visitor expenditures in the Greater Milwaukee Area were divided between shopping, which accounted for approximately one-third ($763 million or 32 percent) of all traveler expenditures; and food ($603 million or 25 percent) and recreation ($604 million or 25 percent), which each accounted for approximately one-fourth of expenses.
The remaining traveler expenditures in the Greater Milwaukee Area went toward lodging ($282 million or 12 percent) and transportation ($153 million or 6 percent).
"We're holding our own in a challenging economic environment and a tourism industry in which we compete with dozens of other urban destinations," said Doug Neilson, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee.
Hotel occupancy in Milwaukee County experienced a 2.6 percent increase over the previous year, finishing at 61 percent for the year, slightly outpacing the national average. While 2004 was not a great year for convention business, occupancy percentage was up because of the increase in leisure travel. This year is shaping up to be a strong convention year, with 29 national conventions utilizing the Midwest Airlines Center and 33 conventions of 2,000 room nights or more coming to Milwaukee, both representing the most Milwaukee has ever seen.
The city will be hosting its biggest convention year on record with such high-profile gatherings as the national NAACP Annual Convention, the Gospel Music Workshop of America and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Convention and Business Expo this summer.
"With our investment in approximately $1 billion in new tourism attractions between now and 2008, we're extremely well-prepared to take advantage of the industry's pent-up demand, growing momentum and increased recognition of Milwaukee as a desirable convention and leisure traveler destination," added Neilson. "We're well-positioned for growth. Our hotel occupancies are moving in the right direction and our investments in new attractions will enable us to compete among other urban destinations for the tourism dollar from both the convention and leisure markets."
Established in 1967, VISIT Milwaukee is the premier marketer of Greater Milwaukee. VISIT Milwaukee reaches tourists, convention and meeting planners nationally and internationally with sales, marketing and public relations programs. Tourism generated $2.4 billion in spending in Greater Milwaukee in 2003, which is 21 percent of the state's total tourism impact. VISIT Milwaukee has more than 700 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services and area businesses. Its main office is at 648 N. Plankinton Avenue, Suite 425, Milwaukee. It also has a sales office in Washington D.C. The Spirit of Milwaukee (SOM) and Potawatomi Bingo Casino are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call 1-800-554-1448 or visit http://www.visitmilwaukee.org.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
David Fantle, Director of Public Relations, VISIT Milwaukee
VISIT Milwaukee Captures 2005 Diversity in Action Award
VISIT Milwaukee's emphasis on multicultural tourism and internal diversity initiatives were key to its selection by The Leaders Forum as a "2005 Diversity in Action Award" recipient. The award is given in recognition of an organization that is succeeding through focus on diversity and actively maintaining internal initiatives that advance and foster multiculturalism.
Since 2000, with the assistance of its multicultural advisory committee, VISIT Milwaukee has booked 64 multicultural conventions representing an estimated $48 million in economic impact. The city is poised to enjoy its biggest convention year in history, in large part due to a summer convention roster that includes three national, multicultural groups. The combined economic impact of delegates attending the NAACP Annual Convention July 9-15, the Gospel Music Workshop of America Aug. 13-20 and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Business Expo Sept. 13-17 is expected to top $20 million and bring national media exposure to the city.
"We are honored to receive this award," said Doug Neilson, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. "Multicultural convention business and leisure travel are among the tourism industry's fastest growing market segments. This underscores our success in capitalizing on that demand by promoting Milwaukee as a destination that is inclusive and welcoming for people of diverse backgrounds."
The Leaders Forum, an organization that promotes leadership through relationship, retention and resource sharing among African-American professionals in southeast Wisconsin, will present the award at its Connecting for Success Awards Luncheon on Thursday, May 19 at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee.
VISIT Milwaukee's internal diversity initiatives played a significant role in its selection as well. Publications directed at niche travel markets, including a guide to multicultural businesses and attractions, and a guide for the lesbian/gay traveler that won the Award of Distinction in the 2005 Communicator Awards were cited.
Focus on diversifying the organization's membership resulted in a 98 percent increase in multicultural members since 2001. VISIT Milwaukee's diversity initiatives extend to training for staff, board and membership, including its recent Maximize the Moment - M3 Milwaukee Multicultural Meetings, an event designed to ready Milwaukee's business and hospitality sectors to welcome and best serve the needs of multicultural visitors this summer and beyond.
Established in 1967, VISIT Milwaukee is the premier marketer of Greater Milwaukee. VISIT Milwaukee reaches tourists, convention and meeting planners nationally and internationally with sales, marketing and public relations programs. Tourism generated $2.4 billion in spending in Greater Milwaukee in 2003, which is 21 percent of the state's total tourism impact. VISIT Milwaukee has more than 700 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services and area businesses. Its main office is at 648 N. Plankinton Avenue, Suite 425, Milwaukee. It also has a sales
office in Washington D.C. The Spirit of Milwaukee (SOM) and Potawatomi Bingo Casino are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call 1-800-554-1448 or visit http://www.visitmilwaukee.org.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
David Fantle, Director of Public Relations, VISIT Milwaukee
The Greater Milwaukee Convention Visitors Bureau Changes Name, Adopts New Logo
MILWAUKEE - (Jan. 20, 2005) - The Greater Milwaukee Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) today announced it is changing its name to VISIT Milwaukee and adopting a new logo depicting the Santiago Calatrava-designed addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum. The formal unveiling of the new name and logo will take place at the VISIT Milwaukee Annual Meeting luncheon, Thursday, Feb. 17 at the Midwest Airlines Center.
"As the organization charged with marketing the image of Milwaukee to a worldwide audience of convention planners and potential visitors, VISIT Milwaukee and the new logo personify the evolution of the city," said Doug Neilson, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. "The new name in its simplicity sends a direct message and the logo with the Calatrava addition symbolizes the progressive 'rebirth' of our city as a major convention and visitor destination."
The new logo was inspired by a design created for the city and recently unveiled by the Spirit of Milwaukee organization, a VISIT Milwaukee strategic partner. The mark represents the "innovative, progessive, dynamic and expansive" vitality of the city, and the name, VISIT Milwaukee, follows a trend by convention and visitors bureaus nationwide to simplify and standardize the message to consumers worldwide.
The name VISIT Milwaukee and the logo change replaces the name Greater Milwaukee Convention & Visitors Bureau, the slogan, "Milwaukee - Genuine American City" and the accompanying circular logo, which was first introduced by the GMCVB in the summer of 1995.
"The phrase, ‘Genuine American City' (and logo) served us well," said Neilson. "During that period we made great strides in rebranding our city away from its 'rustbelt' image and the beginnings of the urban renaissance we're now enjoying. Now it's time to move our image up to the next level. We believe our new name and logo change allows us to maintain our unique and distinctive characteristics such as our brewing heritage, but also moves us forward in support of our new and exciting tourism attractions."
Tourism is a significant contributor to the economic well-being of the Milwaukee area. In 2003, approximately $2.4 billion in travel expenditures was attributed to the tourism industry in the greater Milwaukee area, which includes Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties. In the year 2003, the local tourism industry supported 62,485 full-time equivalent residents. Those employed in Milwaukee's tourism industry bring home more than $1.4 billion in income annually.
During 2003, traveler expenditures in the Greater Milwaukee area also led to the receipt of $267 million in state government revenues and $125 million in local government revenues. Tourism results for 2004 will be available in May.
County Executive Scott Walker said tourism plays an important role in the quality of life in the community and the new Milwaukee Art Museum icon will create an identifiable worldwide symbol for the entire area. "The economic impact of tourism benefits all Milwaukee County residents," he said. "When it comes to attracting visitors, we don't want to remain a well-kept secret. We have a lot to brag about. The name change and the logo will help launch this renewed effort to tell potential visitors to come and enjoy one of the most livable urban destinations in the country."
Milwaukee city officials see the name change and Milwaukee Art Museum-inspired logo as an opportunity to work together as a community to strengthen the city's brand image with potential visitors.
"Promoting Milwaukee takes a collaborative approach and I see that as an important part of my job," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. "We're justifiably proud of our heritage and as a community we have great strengths to build on. The new name, VISIT Milwaukee and logo, an adaptation of the design created by the Spirit of Milwaukee, is something we can all embrace as we work together to market Milwaukee to the world. The words, ‘visit Milwaukee' is really a call to action."
The name change comes as Milwaukee is scheduled to enjoy its best convention year in history and play host to a number of high-profile gatherings, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. These conventions will give Milwaukee an opportunity to showcase its ethnic and cultural diversity to visitors from throughout the country.
Added Willies Hines, president of the Milwaukee Common Council and a VISIT Milwaukee board member, "The name change and the marketing direction of VISIT Milwaukee comes at a time when Milwaukee will take center stage with several prestigious conventions that will showcase our city," he said. ""There is no better time to change our name and logo as we move forward to change the world's perception of Milwaukee. The changes support our goal as a community to celebrate our diversity and promote Milwaukee to the rest of the world as a first-rate convention and tourism destination."
According to Maria Monreal-Cameron of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and
a VISIT Milwaukee board member, the timing of the identity change coincides perfectly with the message of "inclusiveness" being embraced and promoted throughout the community. "Milwaukee is a multicultural destination as demonstrated by the conventions we're attracting," she said. "Working together as a community we have charted a course in which ethnic and cultural diversity is celebrated and looked at as a strength. VISIT Milwaukee is an invitation for all people to come and enjoy what we have to offer."
VISIT Milwaukee and the new logo will transition throughout the year and serve as the unifying theme around all of the organization's sales, marketing and communications efforts.
"We're really recognized as a city that provides amenities important to visitors such as sports, arts, culture, festivals, attractions, dining, and hotels," said John Steinmiller, Milwaukee Bucks vice president and board chair of Visit Milwaukee. "Milwaukee consistently exceeds visitors' expectations and the new branding will help us effectively spread the word."
It takes more than a name change and logo to attract visitors, adds Neilson. "While the name change and the logo serves as a symbol of 'new Milwaukee,' that alone will not bring visitors here. A destination must have the attractions to support a robust tourism economy. We now have them and the time is right to share our story with the world."
The community has invested $1.5 billion in new tourism infrastructure since 1998 with an additional $1 billion scheduled to open in the next few years with such projects as The Milwaukee Public Market, Pier Wisconsin and culminating with the Harley-Davidson Museum.
"These attractions, combined with our other established urban destination attributes, will attract conventions and tourists to Milwaukee and that's the story we plan to aggressively tell," said Neilson.
Established in 1967, VISIT Milwaukee is the premier marketer of Greater Milwaukee. VISIT Milwaukee reaches tourists, convention and meeting planners nationally and internationally with sales, marketing and public relations programs. Tourism generated $2.5 billion in spending in Greater Milwaukee in 2003, which is 21 percent of the state's total tourism impact. VISIT Milwaukee has nearly 700 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services and area businesses. Its main office is at 101 West Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 425, Milwaukee. It also has a sales office in Washington D.C. The Spirit of Milwaukee (SOM) and Potawatomi Bingo Casino are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call 1-800-554-1448 or visit http://www.visitmilwaukee.org.
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See What’s ‘Growing’ On In Milwaukee: $2.5 Billion in new Tourism Investment is Taking Root
MILWAUKEE - Sept. 15, 2004 - The seeds of some $2.5 billion in tourism investment have been planted in Milwaukee and now visitors to the city are reaping the harvest. New food, shopping, cultural and recreational options are sprouting, creating new interest in the Genuine American City. Included in this bountiful harvest are five major new tourism projects: Pier Wisconsin, Milwaukee Public Market, theBayshore Mall expansion, Pabst City and the Harley-Davidson Museum.
Opening in winter 2005, Pier Wisconsin will house Discovery World - the James Lovell Museum of Science Technology and Economics, and an innovative, fresh and saltwater education center with aquariums, interactive experiences and dynamic laboratories all designed to highlight and educate visitors on the Great Lakes and oceans. The 65,000 square foot complex will be located directly on Milwaukee's lakefront and will lead to the docks of the Wisconsin's Flagship, S/V Denis Sullivan while also providing public access for fishing, walking and biking. "Exploration Portal" is Pier Wisconsin's digital learning studio hosting two-way video conferencing and live, interactive education programs via satellite and broadband wireless technologies. Portal Expeditions take classroom explorers, in real time, right to the deck of the S/V Denis Sullivan as she travels our fresh and saltwater seas, to the research stations of our partners or to the deck of a shipwreck lying deep beneath the Lakes.
The Historic Third Ward District boasts the highest concentration of art galleries and antique shops and will add the Milwaukee Public Market to its line-up in summer 2005. This new market will provide locally grown organic items, produce, meat, poultry, seafood, cheese and specialty foods. This $11.3 million project is designed to provide consumers with a new experience and "green market" for downtown while also adding to the architectural ambience of the area.
Bayshore Mall is undergoing a major expansion and transformation to a more "pedestrian-friendly" Town Center, giving the area a more "downtown" atmosphere. The end result, expected to be completed by October 2006, will include one million square feet of retail and office space, townhouses, parking garage, a town square, upscale restaurants and more. The Town Center will serve as a community-gathering place, while transforming the area into more than just a shopping center.
The redevelopment of former historic Pabst Brewery will help redefine Milwaukee and expand downtown boundaries with the renovation of 26 buildings to include entertainment, restaurants, retail, office space and residential lofts. This 22-acre, seven-city block area will help to preserve part of Milwaukee's heritage and is expected to be completed by 2007.
Harley-Davidson Motor Company is planning a state-of-the-art museum complex, located in the downtown area, creating an international attraction drawing visitors to experience the culture, history, product and people of Harley-Davidson. The Museum will celebrate the company's rich motorcycle legacy along with highlighting the passion and enthusiasm of riders. First phase of this $60 million project is scheduled to open 2006.
Milwaukee continues to grow and enhance its reputation as a "must see" destination. It is the combination of progress, beauty, boldness and tradition that Milwaukee has earned its rightful place as the Genuine American City.
Established in 1967, the Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau is the premier marketer of Greater Milwaukee - the Genuine American City. The GMCVB reaches tourists, convention and meeting planners nationally and internationally with sales, marketing and public relations programs. Tourism generated $2.5 billion in spending in Greater Milwaukee in 2003, which is 21 percent of the state's total tourism impact. The GMCVB has more than 650 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services and area businesses. Its main office is at 101 West Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 425, Milwaukee. It also has a sales office in Washington D.C. The Spirit of Milwaukee (SOM) and Potawatomi Bingo Casino are strategic partners with the GMCVB, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call 1-800-554-1448 or visit http://www.milwaukee.org.