Visitors to Racine County spent a record $236.7 million in 2017, according to research conducted by the firm Tourism Economics.

The report, released for National Travel and Tourism Week, May 6-12, showed a 3.2 percent increase in visitor spending compared with 2016. The county’s previous visitor spending record of $232.3 million was set in 2015. The new report shows that tourism supported 4,025 local jobs contributing $112.1 million in personal income. Those jobs generated $27 million in state and local taxes last year.

“We’re happy and proud of setting another record for Racine County tourism spending,” said Dave Blank, Real Racine president and CEO. “The addition of Racine County to the officially designated Frank Lloyd Trail had a positive effect that will be felt for years to come. The local tourism industry also saw a big boost from the Antique & Classic Boat Society annual meeting and boat show held at ReefPoint Marina.”

Blank added that recent investments in local lodging properties have started to pay off. The former Racine Marriott in Mount Pleasant had a makeover and is now the Delta Hotels by Marriott. The former Harbourwalk Hotel Racine successfully completed a remodeling and a rebranding into the DoubleTree by Hilton Racine.

Statewide, visitor spending tourism hit $12.7 billion last year, a 3.2 percent increase from 2016. Tourism supported 195,255 jobs that accounted for nearly $5.4 billion in personal income.

“It’s a tremendous credit to the tourism industry in all 72 counties and the work they do to create fun vacation experiences, market their destinations, and provide great customer service that makes travelers want to return to Wisconsin each year,” Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett said in a statement.

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, open a business, attend college or retire, she added.

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:...