Wisconsin Tourism

Wisconsin, Eau Claire Broke Tourism Records in 2022

tourism revenue surges past pre-pandemic totals, report says

McKenna Scherer, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

COME ONE, COME ALL! Wisconsin's tourism industry shatters its previous economic impact record in 2022, as did Eau Claire County.
COME ONE, COME ALL! The tourism industry in Wisconsin, and the Chippewa Valley, set economic impact records in 2022.  Among the region's many draws for visitors is the Northern Wisconsin State Fair, shown here last summer.

The Wisconsin tourism industry shattered a major milestone in 2022, generating a record-breaking $23.7 billion in total economic impact, the Department of Tourism announced Tuesday. Eau Claire County played a key role, contributing its own record-breaking total of $433 million.

As shown in the Tourism Department’s 2022 economic impact data, Wisconsin surpassed its previous statewide record of $22.7 billion set in 2019. Meanwhile, Eau Claire County broke its previous record of $418 million, also set in 2019, reported Visit Eau Claire, the region’s tourism agency.

Eau Claire County generated $29.8 million in local tax revenue and supported 3,854 part- and full-time jobs across the tourism industry, creating $127.6 million in wages and salaries. The state generated $1.5 billion in state and local tax revenue.

“Each one of our 3,854 part-time and full-time workers in our area have worked so hard to accomplish this feat, and we are so proud to be a part of a community that values what tourism does for our cities,” Visit Eau Claire executive director Benny Anderson said.

Lodging brought in the highest share of tourism revenue statewide, totaling more than $4 billion, or 27.2% of all revenue. The food and beverage sector brought in $3.9 billion or 26%, followed by retail (19.5%), transportation (14.1%), and recreation and entertainment (13.2%).

Eau Claire County reported an increase of 17.2% in direct visitor spending in 2022, reaching $268.9 million. (The previous record of $259 million had been set in 2019.) Chippewa County reported a 10.2% increase to $114.5 million, while Dunn County reported an increase of 15.2% to $439.8 million. 

In 2022, visits in Wisconsin were up by nearly 9 million, totaling 111.1 million visits to the state, the Department of Tourism said. This includes a record 45.4 million overnight visits, an almost 14% increase from 2021. On average, overnight visitors spent nearly three times as much as day trip visitors.

“Tourism is both big fun and big business. I’m so grateful for the innovation and dedication of the folks who make up Wisconsin’s tourism industry,” Anne Sayers, Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary, said in a media release. “Aided by strategic marketing, Wisconsin convinced more visitors to stay longer so they could add more activities to their itinerary, delivering a deeper economic impact. I congratulate the entire industry on an incredible record-breaking year.”

Learn more about Wisconsin’s tourism record-breaking year, and see a county-by-county breakdown, by visiting industry.travelwisconsin.com.