When you think about travel, what first comes to mind? Adventure or R&R? Flying or a road trip? Experiencing new cultures and sights or dancing the night away? Travel can be considered as such a personal thing. It is different for everyone; different goals, different bucket lists, different risk, different budgets. But if it is so personal, why celebrate it on a national level? Well, National Travel & Tourism Week (NTTW) was established as the annual salute to travel in America. We celebrate as communities nationwide unite to showcase travel’s contributions to the economy and American jobs. While we all stay at home together, travel appears to sit at a standstill. However, we’ve listed three reasons that National Travel & Tourism Week should still matter to you this year.

 “Travel Matters.”

While travel may seem frivolous or as a special occasion to the traveler, it still affects and should matter to everyone. Communities benefit from the spirit of travel which spreads through small businesses, stunning landmarks, and hospitality for both residents and visitors. Specifically, travel influences American jobs, local and federal economic growth, and personal well-being. Think about your last trip, no matter how small. You needed gas and a place to sleep. You explored the town and bought a souvenir. You splurged at a restaurant and bought dessert. Maybe you ventured out into legendary nature or saw a local production in town. Every memory you made contributed to local jobs. All while you enjoyed adventure and invested in your well-being, you supplied the locals with jobs and income as well as invested in the community so it can flourish further. Your trip mattered. How special is that?!

“Tourism Matters to Wisconsin.”

Let’s break down the data. “2019 was Wisconsin’s best year on record and that building block combined with the spirit of travel will help our industry economically bounce back,” states the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. In Wisconsin, tourism had a $22.2 billion economic impact and supported 202,217 jobs in 2019. One-in-eight jobs within Wisconsin is stained by Tourism activity (Tourism Economics and Longwoods International)! “Without tourism, each Wisconsin household would have to pay an additional $687 to maintain existing services,” explains the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. What is Wisconsin’s competitive advantage? Paired with the state’s overall successful Marketing strategies, Outdoor Recreation is the #1 marketable reason for people to travel to Wisconsin! “The Outdoor Industry Association reports that in Wisconsin, outdoor recreation generates $17.9 billion in consumer spending annually, resulting in 168,000 direct jobs and $1.1 billion in state and local tax revenue” (Tourism Economics and Longwoods International).

“The Spirit of Travel.”

All in all, National Travel and Tourism Week recognizes the spirit of travel uniquely this year by celebrating the industry’s strength, selflessness, and resiliency. This spirit brings joy and memorable experiences to millions of travelers every year and is anticipated to bounce back post-pandemic. Individuals of all backgrounds can celebrate and connect through the spirit of travel. It is found in both far-off places as well as within communities as residents support local businesses and explore at home.

Although times are uncertain, the spirit of travel will not be diminished. Take this time to ponder. Use this time to reflect and to enjoy the mundane. Take this time to plan and dream. This is the time to imagine where you want to be when it’s time to explore. Where do you aspire to visit when it is safe? The spirit of travel still lives in us and someday, we will be able to travel again. When the time is right, the Freedom to Explore Awaits YOU in the La Crosse Region. We cannot wait to safely welcome you soon!

Photo Credit: Colton Nieman