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July 2012  

Stephanie Klett   
Department Secretary   

Arts Board  | Council Perspectives | Marketing and Tourism News | Industry Relations | Grant News
Customer Service & Technology | Wisconsin in the News | Travel Green Wisconsin

Secretary Message

Hello Friends,

WKOW We're still riding high from the filming of next summer's ad with David Zucker and Robert Hays. It was an absolute blast and both David and Robert were a pleasure to work with. What's even better -- the earned media was off the charts. The reunion of David and Robert after 32 years through the production of our commercial netted $6 million in earned media for tourism. We look forward to sharing the spot with all of you when we are together at the March tourism conference.

In more serious news, we've been monitoring the impact that this year's crazy weather has had on different regions of the state. From the flooding in the northwest to the cherry crop issue in Door County to drought conditions in southern Wisconsin, we've been in contact with the destinations impacted in these areas to offer support where needed.

Deputy Dave and I will be meeting with our senior team this month to revise our strategic plan for 2013- 2014 as well as finalize this year's budget. Also on tap this fall, more 1:1 meetings with our senators, representatives and editorial boards around the state. We also had a successful meeting with Tribal leadership during our annual consultation last month. Our tribal relationships continue to strengthen as the conversations deepen.

Keep reading this month's newsletter, because we have a new Regional Tourism Specialist and Tourism Council member to introduce to you, as well as helpful leads and program updates

Happy summer days,


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Lola Roeh   
Governor's Council on Tourism   

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Council Perspectives

Dear Tourism Partners,

Council Tourism is Rockin' in Wisconsin! From all accounts, we are delivering a great Wisconsin vacation to record numbers in every corner of our state, which means we are all busy, busy, busy. Festivals, picnics, race weekends, art shows, and folks having fun in Wisconsin–the market is responding to the FUN campaign and we are taking good care of them while they are here. That said, I hope that you can take a few quiet minutes to glance over this month's newsletter to see what the Department is doing to keep those travelers coming!

More news on Council members--It's my great pleasure to introduce our newest member of the Governor's Council on Tourism. James Bolen, Executive Director of the Cable Area Chamber of Commerce, was appointed this month to the Council by Governor Walker. As a lifelong resident of the Northwoods, he brings a wealth of tourism experience to the Council, from his years running a resort and his leadership at the Chamber. With experience securing international sporting events for his region, James has already been tapped as a member of our Sports Marketing committee. We look forward to having him join us at our next Council meeting in October.

In other committee news, the Marketing Committee has met several times this spring and summer at the Laughlin-Constable offices to discuss the Department's campaign strategies and review scripts and concepts for next year's ad campaigns. We will be meeting again this week for further review of next year's summer campaign concepts, keeping the focus on FUN in Wisconsin!

And we had several of our Tourism Council members join in the fun at the press conference last month with Director David Zucker and actor Robert Hays. Clearly a fun time was had by all, but fun is what we are all about in tourism.

Sending you warm thoughts this busy summer season,

Lola Roeh

Thursday, October 18th
10:00-2:00 PM
Wild Eagle Lodge
Eagle River

Dave Fantle    
Deputy Secretary   
Top of the page
Marketing Update

Summer 2013 photo Shoot
# Robert Hays and David Zucker made our summer ad shoot a fun one as you can see in the photos. Their teaming up for our summer ad netted the state $6 million in earned media value as hundreds of newspapers and broadcast media around the nation picked up the story. Also starring in the spot was a lovely quartet of Wisconsin pageant queens recruited by our own former Miss Wisconsin. The ad will make its debut at the Governor's Conference on the Tourism in March.

Peter Greenberg Hidden Gems Filming in Wisconsin
Staff from Tourism and Laughlin-Constable, along with NATOW representatives Kirby Metoxen and Aimee Juan, joined the crew of Peter Greenberg's Hidden Gems during a five-day shoot this month. The Wisconsin episodes and videos will feature a wide variety of Native American tourism experiences from the new Frog Bay Tribal National Park to tribal culture and art. The segments are part of Peter's Hidden Gems online and radio travel news and mark his first filming in Wisconsin. To see terrific photos from the filming, visit

International Marketing Update
In 2011, international visitors made up $600 million of the $10 billion of direct travel expenditures to Wisconsin. The Department feels that the timing is right and the interest from the industry is there to leverage and grow this market. In addition, Wisconsin has the advantage of close proximity to O'Hare and Minneapolis-St. Paul international airports, which can support international travel.

Brand USA Logo A major part of our international marketing efforts is a collaboration with Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio tourism offices through Great Lakes USA to promote the region in UK and Germany. All five states contribute to the $450,000 budget for the Great Lakes USA partnership. Deputy Dave met with the group last week in Chicago for an annual meeting, where accomplishments for the year and plans for the next 12 months were reviewed. Last year's earned media promoting the region in print, TV and online was $33 million in Germany and $10 million for coverage in the UK. The partnership is exploring the possibility of dovetailing its marketing efforts with those of Brand USA, a new program based in Washington, D.C. charged with promoting the U.S. as a premier travel destination in other countries.

Outside of Great Lakes USA, the Department is forming a committee of industry representatives in the state with expertise and interest in growing the international visitor market. The committee will be charged with taking a look at potential opportunities to market the state more aggressively in Canada and test the water in parts of Asia, especially China and Japan. If you are interested in serving on the committee or would like to know more about international marketing, drop Deputy Dave an email.

$500,000 in Film Tax Credits Available
There are two types of programs for qualified film related work in Wisconsin that cast a wide net for filmmakers, broadcast producers and video game producers. The first program, the Film Production Services Tax Credit, covers production expenditures that are incurred by bringing productions to the state that benefit the local economy. For example, a west coast production shoots here and uses a Wisconsin-based crew and accommodations would be eligible for a tax credit. The second is the Film Production Company Investment Tax Credit, which goes towards acquiring property or a building, or rehabilitating or reconstructing a building. This supports the film industry's infrastructure in the state. Create a film-friendly community and you will reap the ripple effects for the local economy! Read more here or contact Shelly Allness for information.

  LInk to Metrics

Lisa Marshall   
Communications Director    
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Wisconsin in the News

Stephanie Talks Tourism on "Up Front"
WKOW Stephanie recently appeared on "Up Front with Mike Gousha" – the state's top TV show for political analysis. The segment, which aired July 8, focused on last year's tourism figures, the Department's efforts to market the state, the strategy behind the advertising, and possible expansion into international markets. Watch the segment online.

In the News this Month
  • Ellsworth Cheese Curd Festival made national news with a front page feature in the Wall Street Journal. If you ever wanted to see what a cheese-curd eating contest looks like, check out the video. Great coverage for a great event that deserves it!
  • Wisconsin was named "Best Vacation State" by readers of AAA Midwest Traveler. See the release and link to the feature in the July/August issue of the magazine.
  • WKOW
  • Zoinks! Rhinelander's famous Hodag will have a starring role in an upcoming episode of "Scooby-Doo!" according to the Journal-Sentinel. Scooby-Doo producers were looking for a folkloric monster and it didn't hurt that the Hodag is known to eat dogs. We hope Scooby fans will be interested in checking out the wonderful Rhinelander area after seeing the August 3 episode.
  • Travel Green Wisconsin along with several certified businesses were featured in the June/July issue of Lake Superior magazine. The feature was an 8-page spread on green travel around Lake Superior. Read more.
  • Brian Kelsey, managing director of Peninsula Players Theater (and Tourism Council member), was featured on the cover of Insight Magazine, in a profile on the theater as it heads into its 77th season.
Update on PR Activities
The PR team just completed their annual Chicago media trip. Meetings with media outlets included Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times and Chicago Magazine. Also on tap this summer, Geiger & Associates PR will conduct a July press tour in Milwaukee followed by an August press tour featuring Green Bay, Manitowoc, Two Rivers and Algoma.

Media Opportunities for You
Want to reach the lucrative market of women who live in Chicago's affluent northern suburbs? "Make it Better" is an online resource, with a print magazine companion, designed specifically for the dynamic women of the North Shore. Pitch your story ideas to editor and feature writer Kelly Konrad or contact Michelle Weiss to learn more about opportunities to reach this audience.

Does your town or community have exceptional community-wide "curb appeal" due to their beautiful exterior paint? You might want to consider entering your city in the "Prettiest Painted Towns Contest." Twelve national finalists from six regions will be selected by journalists with HGTV and other national media outlets. Deadline for entries is August 31.

Sarah Klavas    
Industry Relations & Services Director   
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Industry Services

New RTS Joins "Team Tourism"
WKOW Please join us in welcoming Drew Nussbaum to the Department as our newest Regional Tourism Specialist servicing 19 counties in northwest Wisconsin. Drew brings a long history of developing collaborative partnerships among tourism organizations and destinations through his position as the President & CEO of the Columbia County Visitor's Bureau and during his tenure at The staff here is thrilled to have him on board. Drew looks forward to hitting the road and meeting the tourism partners in his region this summer. Reach him at or 715-299-5422.

New Region Map Available
Tourism partners will want to take note of the revised regions for our Regional Tourism Specialists. A county map outlining the newly drawn regions is available for convenient download and printing.

FIRST EVER! TrailCon "Dirt & Snow" Conference
The Wisconsin ATV Association (WATVA) and the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs (AWSC) have teamed up to host TrailCon, Wisconsin's only joint dirt and snow grooming technology and trail development show. This is a brand new event that will be held August 17-18 at the Langlade County Fairgrounds in Antigo. WATVA and AWSC are seeking clubs interested in setting displays at the show. The cost is free but there are only a few booths left! More information is available online at

Industry News and Accolades
  • A fond farewell to Linda Clifford, Executive Director of the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau. She is leaving after thirty years of service to the state's tourism industry and moving to South Carolina. We wish her all the best.
  • Madison was one of 20 metro areas with the largest concentration of creative class workers. The data was compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read more.

Abbie Hill    
Grant Coordinator   
Top of the page
Grant News

Grant Tip of the Month: The Three-Step Process
The review method for both Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) and Tourist Information Center (TIC) grant applications is a 3-step process. Step 1 consists of a staff review. Many thanks to Will Kuehn and Joellyn Merz for serving on the TIC grant staff review committee, and Dawn Zanoni and Sarah Klavas for serving on the JEM grant staff review committee. These four staff members along with Abbie read all the applications to be reviewed and then meet to rank and discuss the applications. These staff comments are then provided to the Governor's Council sub-committees for JEM and TIC. The upcoming August and September newsletters will give an overview of the second and third steps in the grant review process.

JEM Grant Awards
Congratulations to this worthy list of recent recipients.

Joint Effort Marketing – August 1 and November 1
Meetings Mean Business – August 1 and December 1
Destination Marketing – September 1
Ready, Set, Go! – September 1
Tourism Information Center – January 1


Joellyn Merz   
Technology & Customer Service   
Top of the page
Customer Service & Technology

Pinterest NEW! Travel Wisconsin on Pinterest
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter often focus on what you are doing and what you did. But think of Pinterest as displaying what you want to do, the places you want to visit. It's an online photo bulletin board that allows travelers to quickly scan a destinations' images for things that might interest them. Pinterest is now the third largest player in the social media landscape, and knowing that, we just launched a Travel Wisconsin Pinterest account. We've started with five boards that feature images linking to articles on, driving traffic to the site and creating a new way to plan travel. We take analytics into account as we create boards but one consideration is the availability of really great images. We encourage you to review your images on as well as consider creating your own Pinterest account. Have an account, be sure to follow us. Questions about Pinterest? Give Shane Brossard a call at 608-266-2147.

Q2 Stats
Ascedia provided the Department with some insights and key trends regarding traffic on in the second quarter:
  • Overall Visits, Unique Visits and Pageviews have all increased by 25-28% over second quarter last year. This tremendous growth can be attributed to successful integrated marketing campaigns, dedicated optimization efforts and more relevant, interactive and user-friendly site content.
  • Organic and paid search increased by 19%, comprising more of the overall traffic. This is due to successful SEO efforts as well as additional pay-per-click campaigns this year, allowing us to capture more new visitors and further grow brand awareness.
  • In Q2, nearly 80% of users entered the site on the home page and 71% of users went on to consume additional pages on the Travel Wisconsin site. The most commonly viewed page after the home page is our Events Calendar.
In other analytic news, click-throughs to external partner websites increased 45% in June 2012 (94,651) compared to May 2012 (65,245). Referrals to partner websites are one of our measures of success as it indicates the users' intent to travel and moving further into the planning process.

Shelly Allness   
Program Manger & Liaision   
Top of the page
Travel Green Wisconsin

Online Renewal Now Available!
You requested it and we listened. Members are now able to renew their Travel Green Wisconsin certification online! You can find the link on our industry site. It's fast and easy and green! The option to download and send in the paperwork is still available. Payment can be mailed to the Department attention: Travel Green Wisconsin.

Student Research Focuses on Travel Green Wisconsin Ties to Agritourism and Wineries
There are two UW research projects underway for Travel Green Wisconsin. The first project focuses on the important connection between agritourism and green travel, specifically on the field-to-fork trend where restaurants emphasize their use of local products. The second research project examines Wisconsin's growing winery industry. When a winery is able to grow and source its product locally, visitors get a sense of place and a more enriching experience. The research is tracking opportunities to grow grapes and other fruit locally, the wineries that take advantage of locally-grown grapes, and how programs like Travel Green Wisconsin can foster this agricultural initiative. Be ready if one of our students call or stop in for a chat. Their work brings the Department great research value and allows them to grow and gain experience in their studies.

Forging Green Relationships
Travel Green Wisconsin continues to establish and strengthen relationships with other sustainability initiatives with common goals. One example is our partnership with the Clean Marina's certification program. We have collaborated with them to establish a combined certification application, making it more streamlined for Clean Marina certified businesses to also receive Travel Green Wisconsin certification. We've met with other groups to see how partnerships can be developed to benefit our members and reach our shared or similar goals. Stay tuned as we provide new offerings!

Travel Green Logo Travel Green Wisconsin in Lake Superior Magazine
The June/July issue of Lake Superior magazine featured an 8-page spread on green travel around Lake Superior. Travel Green Wisconsin, along with several of our certified businesses, is featured. Download the article here.

Travel Green Logo

Memorial Park & Campground, Washburn
Thompson's West End Park & Campground, Washburn
Peterman Brook Herb Farm, Porterfield
North Coast Coffee, Washburn
Dog Paddle Kayaks, Washburn
Lake Superior View Golf, Washburn
Bayfield Festival of Arts, Bayfield


George Tzougros   
Executive Director   
Top of the page
Arts Board

Tourism Connection to the Arts
It's worth noting that of the 20 projects awarded funding in the last round of JEM grants, 8 brought together the arts and tourism in some shape. Whether it was a musical performance, a film festival, or connecting self-guided art studio tours to fall color, there's a correlation between increasing visitor spending when the arts are part of the package.

Milwaukee Ballet Company Receives $100,000 NEA Grant
The National Endowment for the Arts announced this week the 2012 recipients for "Our Town Grant." Milwaukee Ballet received $100,000 for its partnership with the City of Milwaukee on the Harmony Initiative, a new cultural facility in the Downtown Center District that will focus on performing arts, higher education, and health and wellness. The facility will integrate programming and generate shared revenue for three organizations: Milwaukee Ballet, UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts, and Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Medicine.

Harnessing the power of tourism to build a better Wisconsin.
See how on:
Wisconsin Department of Tourism
201 W Washington Ave Madison, WI 53703
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