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October 2013  

Stephanie Klett   
Department Secretary   

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

 Secretary Message

Hello Tourism Friends,

AIRPLANE! For those who haven't seen the news or the photos, last month we made Wisconsin and pop-culture history by reuniting Airplane! stars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Hays and Wisconsin-born producers, writers and directors David Zucker, Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams. The Airplane! directors and actors filmed key scenes for our 2014 television ad campaign on the original cockpit set from the 1980 movie!

About a dozen media outlets including TMZ, CBS, Fox, Getty Images, and Splash showed up for our media event and the coverage appeared in national publications including US Weekly, In Touch, ESPN Sports Center and Good Day New York. An initial estimate of the earned media from this event is $7-8 million! For a behind-the-scenes look at the Hollywood shoot, check out this Milwaukee Business Journal slideshow.

Discover WI I've recently come out of television retirement to host a few Discover Wisconsin episodes airing next year. The Department partnered with Discover Wisconsin to produce three shows that cover Wisconsin's exciting culinary scene, Native American tourism and accessible travel experiences. The shoots have been taking place throughout the fall in Madison, Milwaukee, Ashland, Glidden, Stevens Point, Plover, and Door County.

We have been monitoring the federal government shutdown and working with the affected communities as the situation unfolds. Wisconsin is home to a number of national park service areas such as the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge, North Country Scenic Trail, Necedah Wildlife Refuge, Ice Age Trail, and more. Their closures have an impact on tourism in the state.

A final word on customer service. I took a short vacation to New York City last week where I experienced great customer service and some not so great. It's always worth repeating that if our industry keeps doing its part to offer travelers the best service in the Midwest then the rest will take care of itself. And Team Tourism will keep encouraging travelers to visit Wisconsin. Remember we offer an excellent customer training program to help your business or destination achieve its hospitality goals!

Here's to a strong finish to the fall season!

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Dave Fantle    
Deputy Secretary   
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Marketing Update

Facebook Milestone Reached
We're excited to share that we've surpassed 200,000 fans on the Travel Wisconsin Facebook page! It's a big milestone for the Department as we doubled our fans since last fall. And while we're on the subject of "six digits", views of our fall TV commercial featuring Jordy Nelson have topped 210,000 on our YouTube Channel. That figure doesn't include the additional 15,000-20,000 views from the Travel Channel and TMJ4, which posted the spot on their own websites.

Walk with Walker
Explore Wisconsin's natural beauty with First Lady Tonette Walker at one of her upcoming Walk with Walker events. Mrs. Walker heads to the beautiful city of Trempealeau next week for a hike at Perrot State Park. Follow her to Janesville in November for one of her last walks of 2013. Interested in hosting a walk next year? Email or call Dawn Zanoni to get the details.

  LInk to Metrics


Dawn Zanoni   
Special Events and Markets Manager   

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Conference & Education

"Soaring to New Heights" at 2014 WIGCOT
The 2014 Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Tourism returns to the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva on March 2-4. Now is the time to book your overnight accommodations. Accommodations are available in the Lake Geneva area. Please call the Lake Geneva Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-345-1020 or visit

In recognition of the Wisconsin Arts Board's 40th anniversary and the role arts play in tourism, we are working with the WAB to incorporate the arts in the conference with speakers and programming. More program information and registration will be available on soon.

Interested in showing your support of the state's tourism industry and investing in its continued growth? Consider becoming a conference sponsor. Several sponsorship levels are available. Detailed information and sponsorship packet are available by contacting Dawn at 608-266-3978.

Now Accepting Nominations for 2014 Governor's Tourism Awards
The online submission form for the Governor's Tourism Awards is now available. Sponsored by the Governor's Council on Tourism, the Governor's Tourism Awards recognize and honor people and organizations that have made a significant impact on the state's tourism industry. The Governor will present the awards during the closing dinner of the conference. The deadline to submit nominations is January 17, 2014 to accommodate the earlier date of the conference. More information, award categories and online submission form are now live.

Wisconsin Lodging Conference & Trade Show, November 3-5
Attend the largest gathering of Wisconsin lodging owners, operators and professionals in the state at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva on November 3-5. The full package registration for WH&LA member property owners and operators is $259 per person ($229 discount rate if registered by October 23) and $340 for non-members. Jim Abrahamson from Interstate Hotels & Resorts is a featured speaker. More information is available online.

Wisconsin Fall Tourism Convention, November 7-8
The Wisconsin Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus invites you to a "harvest of knowledge" at the 18th Wisconsin Fall Tourism Convention, November 7-8 at Hotel Mead in Wisconsin Rapids. Best-selling author and motivational speaker, Ross Bernstein, has been tapped to present a keynote presentation on the "Champion's Code."

Northwoods Economic Development Summit, December 16-17 (NOTE NEW DATE)
Please note the date for this year's Governor's Northern Wisconsin Economic Development Summit is December 16-17. The event will be at the Four Seasons Island Resort in Pembine, 90 miles north of Green Bay.

Lisa Marshall   
Communications Director    
Top of the page
Wisconsin in the News

Travel Wisconsin at Interbike in Las Vegas
Regional Tourism Specialist David Spiegelberg and Megan Greve from Laughlin-Constable attended the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas where they met publications such as Bike World News, Adventure Cyclist, Bike Mag, Women's Cyclist, Mountain Flyer, Cycling Illustrated, and Mountain Bike. Chris Fortune, owner of Saris Cycling Group and chair of the Governor's Bike Council, generously donated space in his trade show booth for the Department to promote bicycling experiences in Wisconsin. Media received a press kit, Wisconsin culinary treats and the new book Wheel Fever published by the Wisconsin State Historical Society. Coincidentally, meetings with journalists at last year's Interbike led to recent visits from (mountain biking in Cable) and Adventure Cyclist magazine (road biking in Southwest Wisconsin and Madison).

The Big Bundle Up is Back
Our tourism-led charity drive is back and now in its third year! More than 70 visitor centers and organizations participated last year, collecting over 17,000 items such as coats, gloves, hats, boots and warm apparel for charities around the state! The program is a great opportunity for the state's tourism industry to give back to the community and generate local media coverage. If you are interested in participating as a collection point this year, please send an email to Danielle so we can add you to the list for this year. We only ask that you keep a tally of the total number items donated. Updated graphics and downloadable campaign materials will be available in the next few weeks. This year's campaign will kick-off the week of November 18.

Fall Color, Cranberries and Media Showcase
This fall, public relations staff hosted 34 travel and food writers who enjoyed the very first blush of fall color along the Great River Road and the crimson cranberries of central Wisconsin. In addition, Danielle and Megan Greve met with 31 writers, bloggers, editors, freelancers and syndicated columnists at last month's Travel Media Showcase in Rockford. It was a productive trade show and we look forward to attending next year's event in Louisiana. Unlike travel writer organizations SATW and MTWA, Travel Media Showcase is open to any tourism destination regardless of membership.

Recent Headlines
Recent national coverage from the last few weeks included a fall color segment on the Weather Channel and a variety of placements resulting from our media event in Los Angeles. Several clips are posted in our Wisconsin in the News section.

Sarah Klavas    
Industry Relations & Services Director   
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Industry Services

Ohayogozaimasu! Ogenkidesuka?
In Japan that means, "Good morning! How are you?" Regional Tourism Specialists Patrick and Drew practiced this Japanese greeting during a Mississippi River Country familiarization trip along the Great River Road. Patrick and Drew led four Japanese journalists through towns along the Mississippi River from Pepin to Potosi stopping at a variety of attractions along the way.

In other international press trip news, the state hosted two groups of German travel agents last month. One group visited Bayfield and Madeline Island on their way to the UP. A second tour completed a Wisconsin circle tour that included La Crosse, Spring Green, Wisconsin Dells, Milwaukee, Green Bay and Eau Claire. Trinity Mirror Group, Britain's largest publishing group, sent a freelance journalist to the Badger state for a story on breweries and bikes. His trip included a stop at the Harley-Davidson Museum and an interview with Bill Davidson.

Watch for an announcement next month about a new co-op opportunity to participate in the International Pow Wow (IPW) taking place in Chicago in April 2014.

NEW! DWD Offers Tool for Job Seekers and Employers
The Department of Workforce Development recently launched Skill Explorer, an innovative online job search tool that identifies opportunities based on shared skills, not just job titles. The free resource is designed for job seekers, employers and educators. It suggests jobs matching workers' experiences and training, showing similar opportunities in career fields that workers might not have considered. Employers can use Skill Explorer to identify a larger pool of candidates who may have the skills needed to fill a position.

New Eau Claire Holiday Inn Opens
Governor Scott Walker participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new Holiday Inn in Eau Claire. The 90,000 square-foot complex is a $12 million investment featuring over 130 rooms and employing over 100 staff members. According to Visit Eau Claire, the Holiday Inn and connected Johnny's Italian Steakhouse will increase tourism-related jobs by an estimated 3% and visitor spending by 5%.

Industry Accolades
  • TripAdvisor named Wollersheim Winery #8 on its list of "America's Top 10 Winery Tours." It was one of only two non-California-based wineries on the list.
  •, the vacation rental company of TripAdvisor, announced that Door County and Wisconsin Dells have been recognized as a "Top Midwest Travel Destination." The recognition was based on industry research and consumer feedback.

Abbie Hill    
Grant Coordinator   
Top of the page
Grant News

Grant Tip of the Month
Grant Coordinator Abbie Hill welcomes more applications to promote events during the months of December, January and February. Non-holiday, indoor events of interest to travelers would be a great addition to our winter calendar. Now is the time to start planning for next year. The August 2014 JEM review would be a good month to submit proposals for your new winter event ideas.

Destination Marketing Grants Awarded
Congratulations to the Mitchell Airport Gateway Business Association, the Florence County Economic Development Commission, the Fox Cities CVB, Vilas County Tourism, Waukesha & Pewaukee CVB and the Waupaca County Economic Development Corporation. All received Destination Marketing JEM grants in September.

Upcoming Grant Application Deadlines

Joint Effort Marketing – November 1
Meetings Mean Business – December 1
Tourist Information Center – January 1
Ready, Set, Go! – January 1
Destination Marketing – April 1

George Tzougros  
Executive Director   
Top of the page
Arts Board

Deadline for Arts & Craft Fairs Directory
Please note that October 25 is the deadline to get your art fair listed in the 2014 Art & Craft Fairs Directory. Information on how to get listed in the Directory is available online or by contacting Will Kuehn at 608-266-5382 or The Directory includes descriptions, contact information, number of exhibitors, attendance figures and hours. It also highlights ideas for places to experience art in Wisconsin; from art studio tours to public art displays.
October is National Arts and Humanities Month
In Wisconsin, we like to celebrate the arts and humanities every day but October is a great time to spotlight arts in our state. Looking for some suggestions to enjoy the arts in Wisconsin? and are both excellent resources for visitors and residents alike. Consider checking out some of these upcoming art tours, exhibits and performances:
  • Gallery Night and Day, Milwaukee (October 18-19)
  • Ellison Bay Fall Arts Crawl, Ellison Bay (October 26-27)
  • Earth, Wood & Fire Artist's Tour, Cambridge (October 26-27)
  • Glass Artists of the New North, Bergrstrom-Mahler Museum in Neenah
  • Ray Yoshida's Museum of Extraordinary Values, John Michael Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan
  • Once Upon a Mattress, The Fireside Theatre in Fort Atkinson
  • Blue Man Group, Grand Theater in Wausau
  • Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park, Fanny Hill Dinner Theatre in Eau Claire
Northwestern Mutual Recognized for Contribution to the Arts
Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual was recently inducted into the Business Committee for the Arts Hall of Fame. As the largest corporate contributor to the arts in the state of Wisconsin, Northwestern Mutual has supported numerous successful partnerships in the arts over the past 25 years. This year, Northwestern Mutual and its employees donated $1.6 million to the United Performing Arts Fund of Milwaukee. Northwestern Mutual joins the Kohler Company in this esteemed list of companies that have exhibited exceptional long-term vision, leadership, and commitment to developing alliances with the arts.

Joellyn Merz  
Technology & Customer Service   

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Customer Service & Technology

Redesigned Industry Site Launched
Earlier this month, we launched a redesigned industry website. All of your favorite features and important information from the old site have migrated to the new one. We've even added a new section on the site that asks a variety of Wisconsin destinations to tell us how they define fun. Check out what they each had to say about what their communities have to offer!

Jason Zarling   
Program Manager    
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Travel Green Wisconsin

Welcome New Travel Green Wisconsin Certified Businesses
  • The Inn at Pine Terrace
  • Radisson Papery Valley Hotel
Travel Green Logo

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