Visitor spending in Racine County had a $231.6 million economic impact in 2014 — a 7.08 percent increase from the previous year, according to research conducted by national firms Tourism Economics and Longworth International.

The report, released for National Travel and Tourism Week, May 2-10, showed that tourism supported 4,109 Racine County jobs that contributed $104.4 million in personal income last year. Those local jobs generated $27 million in state and local taxes.

Racine County’s tourism spending ranked 10th among the state’s 72 counties last year.

“It was a banner year for Racine County in 2014. The word is out that our county is a great place to visit and have fun,” said Dave Blank, CEO of Real Racine  the county’s destination marketing organization. “It’s a pleasure to see visitors participating in major events, like The Color Run Racine and The Ironman 70.3 Racine triathlon. Our beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline and beaches, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed architecture and the Racine Art Museum are extremely popular attractions.

“We’re very happy to see continued growth for local events like Burlington’s ChocolateFest and the Waterford Hot Air Balloon Festival,” he added.

Statewide, tourism had an overall $18.5 billion business impact in 2014, up $1 billion, or 5.5 percent, from the previous year.

“The past four years have been outstanding for Wisconsin’s tourism industry. Since 2010 tourism activity is up by $3.7 billion, a 25 percent increase. And, this is the first time in recent history that all 72 counties posted a positive increase in visitor spending,” said Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. “Tourism continues to be one of Wisconsin’s most important economic resources. Research shows that tourism advertising goes beyond just promoting vacations. It also positively influences the state’s overall image as a great place to live, find a job or open a business.”

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...