Local tourism industry trying to hold on after record 2019

Published: May. 4, 2020 at 2:11 PM CDT
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According to numbers released today by tourism officials, 2019 proved to be a banner year for the Green Bay area's travel and tourism industry.

With visitor spending up more than 3-percent, the Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau says 2019 was a year for the record books.

"And that has an economic impact now that is over $1.2 billion, just in Brown County, so it's a tremendous economic powerhouse," says Brad Toll, Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau President.

And yet right now, those tourism dollars have come to a screeching halt.

Toll says local hotels are currently losing 80-90-percent of their normal business, bars and restaurants remain closed, and any business tied to tourism is hurting.

"Just over 12,000 people that are supported by the tourism industry, their jobs in Brown County and unfortunately thousands have been laid off or furloughed. We hope that a lot of the tourism businesses survive, but we'll see," says Toll.

To keep Green Bay at the top of visitors minds, staff at the CVB are working tirelessly behind the scenes.

"There's a lot of discussions we're guessing at the kitchen table and in the living rooms around the Midwest and around the country of, so when this lifts what are we going to do, where do we want to go where do we want to visit, we want to be sure Green Bay is in that conversation so a lot of our social media has been directed towards plan now and travel later," says Toll.

In the meantime, during this National Travel and Tourism Week, the CVB is encouraging everyone on Wednesday to wear purple, the symbolic color of hospitality and tourism.

"A day to recognize the many people that are struggling right now in our hospitality and tourism industry, but we'll be back," says Toll.

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