State tourism spending tops record-setting 2019 numbers

National travel spending data for September reveals Wisconsin’s first growth in monthly year-over-year tourism spending compared to 2019, according to a statement from Gov. Tony Evers’ office. While the national average continues to lag at a 9% drop, spending in Wisconsin signals a strong economic rebound for the tourism industry. Both Illinois and Minnesota lagged the national average with spending declines at 21% and 20% respectively while Iowa and Michigan exceeded the national average, losing 5% and 3% traveler spending compared to 2019. Wisconsin, with 1% growth, is the only state in the Midwest set to exceed spending for any month compared to 2019 since the beginning of the pandemic. In 2020, the Wisconsin tourism industry experienced a 22% decline compared to 2019, the state’s best year on record.