Tourism Growth Halted by Pandemic
Prior to the pandemic, our region was on the rise and tourism was a driver of that success. Visitor spending was up 10 straight years from 2009 to 2019, supporting our hotels, businesses, restaurants and attractions.
The pandemic created a historic decrease in visitor spending.
As of the end of March 2021, unemployment in the leisure/hospitality sector was at 14.7% with more than 2,000 workers unemployed. An additional 700 people in the retail trade sector are unemployed. Overall, unemployment is at 8.1% in our region, illustrating the pandemic’s greater effect on tourism. Furthermore, in the past twelve months, Winnebago county hotel occupancy was down 30% and hotel revenue was down 39%.
Through investment of TID funds, we will directly affect this downturn, relying on a proven track record that for every dollar invested in tourism marketing, visitors spend $9.