Opinion: Manitowoc County tourism rebounds from pandemic with $112.2M in visitor spending in 2021

·2 min read

The Manitowoc Area Visitor & Convention Bureau worked hard in 2021 to help bring tourism back to pre-pandemic levels.

For Manitowoc County, 2021 was a good year for tourism businesses. Attractions like Pinecrest Historical Village and the Wisconsin Maritime Museum saw attendance numbers increase over the previous year.

Manitowoc County saw an influx of family travel, catching up with family they had not seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Locally, travelers to Manitowoc County spent $112.2 million in 2021, an increase of more than 29.8% from 2020. This ranks Manitowoc 19th of Wisconsin’s 72 counties in terms of increase in visitor spending.

Among the contributing factors for local tourism growth was a destination marketing campaign that focused on the area’s strong outdoor recreation, new dining options and a plethora of live music options.

The 55 new hotel rooms at the Cobblestone Hotel & Suites helped increase hotel inventory and contributed to this rise as well.

The work that led to the generation of these numbers was done in 2019, 2020 and before, promoting Manitowoc as a great vacation destination.

Meetings, sports tournaments and conventions made a comeback in 2021. A few of the groups we welcomed to the area included: HFM Maritime Marathon, Upper Midwest Blacksmith Association, Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Radiation Section, Crazy from the Heat and War on the Shore softball tournaments, Catamaran Racing Association, MEUW, Soo Line Historical & Technical Society, Municipal Treasures Association of Wisconsin and more.

Tourism plays a critical role in our community and continues to grow, and from an economic standpoint, we are a strong economic driver. Our destination is made up of attractions, restaurants, retail shops, museums, and more. Visitors explore our entire destination, and it is important for us to recognize that we are stronger together promoting our whole area as one.

Jobs created and supported by tourism in our area number 1,739. As a company, that would be one of our area’s largest employers. Small businesses make up a large share of these jobs. The support from visitors make up an essential part of their business.

More: Opinion: Manitowoc's empty Visitor Center is hurting local tourism

More: Opinion: Why we believe Manitowoc should use its room tax to contract with the Visitor & Convention Bureau to promote tourism

The Manitowoc Area Visitor & Convention Bureau proudly supports our entire tourism destination. That means we promote our whole geographic area in which the visitor enjoys various types of travel experiences. It is in this way that we best serve the needs of the visitor and provide them the highest level experience. This, in turn, brings the most engagement with our local tourism businesses and generates the highest level of visitor spending.

The Department of Tourism worked with a national research firm, Longwoods International and Tourism Economics to produce the statistics quoted above.

Jason Ring is president of the Manitowoc Area Visitor & Convention Bureau.

This article originally appeared on Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter: Manitowoc County tourism revenue rebounds from COVID pandemic in 2021