On Thursday, Governor Tony Evers of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and the Wisconsin Department of Outdoor Recreation announced that the state’s outdoor recreation industry donated a record $8.7 billion to the state in 2021. In addition, the industry grew 14.1%, more than three times faster than the overall economy, which grew 4.6%.
According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, outdoor recreation supported nearly 90,000 jobs across various sectors in 2021, with a growth rate of 9.7%, compared to 2.4% for all jobs. In each of the last two years, manufacturing has accounted for 10% of all recreational jobs, ranking Wisconsin fourth in the country in this sector. Despite supply chain issues during the pandemic, manufacturing jobs have continued to grow from 2019 to 2021, increasing by 11%.
“We have long understood this inseparable link between outdoor recreation and tourism. Our surveys of travelers consistently show that outdoor recreation is a marketable reason people visit Wisconsin,” Wisconsin Department of Tourism secretary-elect Anne Sayers said in a statement. “The support of the entire outdoor recreation industry through the work of the Office of Outdoor Recreation is essential to protecting and enhancing a significant tourism offering that has helped support our industry during the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.”
The data shows that travel and tourism, as well as local outings, accounted for nearly $2.8 billion of outdoor recreation’s contributions to Wisconsin’s GDP. In 2020, Wisconsin was one of only seven states to record an increase in the economic impact of local recreational outdoor travel. In 2021, the economic impact of local travel grew even more, growing 7.2% to $771 million.
“From hunting and fishing to boating and paddling to snowboarding and skiing, outdoor recreation is part of who we are as a people and as a state – it improves our quality of life, attracts visitors from around the world, supports tens of thousands and serves as more important economic engine for communities across Wisconsin,” Gov. Evers said in a statement. “I’m proud of our work to establish the Office of Outdoor Recreation and ensure this important industry recovers from the pandemic and these numbers are an excellent testament to this important work and the Office’s success.”
The Office of Outdoor Recreation was established in 2019 by Gov. Evers set up under the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. More information about the office can be found on their website.
December 16, 2022