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Experts predict Summer travel season to start off strong

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Dan Plutchak/WKOW
High water on Lake Michigan in Door County during the summer of 2020.

(WKOW) -- Travelling in Wisconsin is starting to pick up after the pandemic hit the tourism industry hard. Many travelers are eager to get started to make up for the lost travel time.

According to a recent study, 89 percent of Americans plan to travel in the next six months.

"That's a good sign for Wisconsin tourism," Anne Sayers, acting secretary for the Department of Tourism said. "If the pandemic taught us anything, it's that tourism is a critical component of Wisconsin's economy."

Despite 2020 being a challenging year, the tourism industry generated $17.3 billion in economic activity and employed about 157,000 Wisconsinites. Sayers said outdoor recreation was a popular travel trend during 2020 and her department expects it to stick around.

"Already, we're seeing increases in the number of fishing licenses sold, campgrounds reserved. So up since this time last year, so that's going to continue to be the case," Sayers said.

Wisconsin is already surpassing the number of vacations lasting two nights or more from not only from 2020 but the state's record-setting tourism year of 2019.

While exploring the great outdoors will continue to be popular, Sayers said travelers want variety on their vacations, so they expect to see travelers book different experiences.

"[Travelers] want to make sure everyone in their travel party has a story to take home," Sayers said.

"So it might be outdoor recreation that brings them but it's going to be the food or culinary experiences, unique lodging arts and culture that's going to complete their trip and drive them into every corner of the state, both urban and rural."

Travel experts predict Memorial Day weekend will help give another big boost to Wisconsin tourism.

"We certainly anticipate that we'll be seeing a lot more travelers," Sayers said. "Our hospitality industry is ready. We have been waiting to welcome these folks back and all trends point to the fact that we'll be seeing a definite uptick."

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Jessica Porter

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