Kenosha County was a hot spot for tourism in 2018.

Visitors to local sporting events, festivals, workshops, exhibits at the museums and downtown night life venues poured in a record $227.8 million, according to the latest economic impact statistics released by the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The KACVB, in its report issued in celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week (May 5-11), said more entertainment and shopping venues throughout the county attracted people who spent more than $14.3 million, or 6.7 percent more than they spent during the previous year. Kenosha County currently ranks 18th out of 72 Wisconsin counties for annual spending.

Kenosha County’s tourism industry is continuing to grow as an important component of the region’s economic development environment. It has helped to create more jobs, generate more tax revenue and further develope the region as a destination, according to KACVB.

The KACVB reported that tourism generated $24.6 million in state and local tax revenues and generated 3,368 jobs with $86.8 million in related income.

KACVB President Dennis DuChene is optimistic that tourism will continue to grow in 2019 with the completion of the Stella Hotel & Convention Center downtown, which opened in April, and as another hotel, the Apis Hotel & Restaurant, comes online.

Other attractions in 2019 feature Boundless Adventures, a family fun venue that is soon to open later this month in Bristol Woods Park. Later this summer, the Kenosha Tall Ships Festival will return.

As the Kenosha County economy continues to grow, tourism continues to grow. DuChene said tourism spending has grown 46.2 percent since 2011.

A contributor to the increase in tourism, DuChene noted, was the Kenosha area’s fourth feature episode of Discover Wisconsin TV that premiered on broadcast channels across Wisconsin and the Midwest last June.

The agency also secured three grants totaling $42,400. The grants helped to fund Tribute Island, Food, Folks and Spokes and operations at the Interstate-94 Visitor Information Center.

DuChene encourages people who want to a Wisconsin vacation to stop in at the Visitor Information Center at I-94 and HWY 165 where summer hours are now in effect. It is staffed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. Visitors can find more than 100 free resources and can get one-on-one travel advice and directions.

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