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Report: Visitors spent $13.7 billion in Wisconsin last year

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Visitors spent $13.7 billion in Wisconsin last year, up 2.6% from 2018 and marking ten straight years of spending growth in the tourism sector, according to a report the state Department of Tourism released on Monday.

The report defines visitors as Wisconsin residents who visit other communities in the state and people from out-of-state.

They spent $3.7 billion on lodging, $3.5 billion on food, $2.7 billion on retail goods and $1.9 billion on recreation. Their spending directly supported 144,657 jobs and they generated $1.6 billion in state and local taxes.

The state saw 113.2 million visits in 2019, up 1% from 2018.

The report does not include any projections for 2020 tourism losses due to the coronavirus pandemic and related stay-at-home orders and business closures. Department of Tourism spokesman Craig Trost said the agency didn’t have any estimates. He did point to projections that Oxford Economics released last month that forecast a 45% decline in the U.S. travel industry for 2020, resulting in a loss of $80 billion in taxes and a a $651 billion decline in the gross national product.

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