Real Racine, the county’s destination marketing organization, is celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week (May 1-7) with news about tourism’s economic impact.

The new research shows that visitor spending in Racine County set a record $232.3 million in 2015. It was the fourth straight visitor spending increase since 2012.

The report, prepared by national research firm Tourism Economics, indicated a 1.9% increase in visitor spending compared with 2014. In addition, tourism supported 4,091 Racine County jobs that contributed $108.6 million in personal income last year. Those local jobs generated $26.9 million in state and local taxes.

Racine County’s tourism spending ranked 12th among the state’s 72 counties in 2015.

Dave Blank, Real Racine CEO, attributed the record performance to the popularity of  the county’s Lake Michigan beaches, increased visits to Frank Lloyd Wright-designed architecture (SC Johnson Administration Building and Wingspread) and major annual events like The Color Run Racine and The Ironman 70.3 Racine triathlon.

On a statewide basis, tourism’s business impact grew by 4.4 percent over 2014 to $19.2 billion last year. Tourism supported 190,717 jobs that accounted for $5.1 billion in personal income.

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism reported that tourism supports 190,717 Wisconsin jobs, a five-year addition of more than 18,700 jobs. The tourism economy generated $1.5 billion in state and local taxes. Without tourism’s contribution, each Wisconsin household would need to be taxed an additional $640 per year to pay for state and local services.

To learn more about Racine County tourism, including upcoming events, visit


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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:...