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Tourism is important to St. Croix County

Traveler expenditures in St. Croix County in 2008 totaled an estimated $106.5 million, according to a report in the St. Croix Chronicle, a bimonthly publication of the St. Croix Economic Development Corp.

The report cites the results of an annual traveler spending study commissioned by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

St. Croix County ranked 35th among Wisconsin's 72 counties in traveler spending last year.

The county's tourism spending was estimated to support 1,434 full-time jobs.

The 2008 figure was a 0.87-percent decline ($940,000) from 2007. Traveler expenditures grew 5.4 percent ($5.53 million) from 2006 to 2007.

The 19th annual Economic Impact of Expenditures by Travelers study tracked tourist spending in Wisconsin back to 1995, according to the St. Croix Chronicle.

In St. Croix County, traveler spending increased 129 percent between 1995 and 2008, going from $46.5 million to $106.5 million.

The statewide increase between 1995 and 2008 was an estimated 113.8 percent.

Statewide traveler in 2008 was estimated at $13.1 billion. The study said traveler spending in Wisconsin increased 2.7 last year despite flooding, a national recession and high gasoline prices.

The St. Croix Chronicle said tourism is one of the top three industries in the state, along with manufacturing and agriculture. It supports 310,330 jobs and $7.3 billion in payroll, according to the St. Croix EDC.

Tourism also generated $1.5 billion in state government revenues in 2008 and $664 million in local government revenues, according to the report.

St. Croix County ranked third in traveler spending in a 10-county region of west central and northwest Wisconsin.

Eau Claire County had the most traveler spending at $177.3 million, followed by Barron County, $108.6 million; St. Croix, $106.5 million; Chippewa, $98.8 million; Polk, $74.3 million; Dunn, $52.6 million; Rusk, $40.3 million; Clark, $40.1 million; Pierce, $35.6 million; Pepin, $9.6 million.

Pierce County, our neighbor to the south, ranked 64th among Wisconsin counties in traveler spending in 2008.