Wisconsin Tourism Celebrates 100 Awards with Free Road Snacks for Holiday Travelers

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Tourism is energizing travelers for their Thanksgiving road trips with a special treat bag in celebration of landing its 100th marketing award. The first 100 travelers to stop at one of the state’s eight Travel Wisconsin Welcome Centers on Wednesday, Nov. 22 will receive a bag filled with Wisconsin-made food products. Three recent MarCom Awards from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP) and a 2017 Member's Choice Award for Digital Out-of-Home from Media Post, pushed the Department’s total number of regional, national and international marketing awards to 100 since January 2011. 

“While we appreciate having our work recognized, it’s not about winning awards, it’s about creating campaigns and initiatives that inspire travelers to visit Wisconsin,” Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett said. “Handing out snack bags on the busiest travel day of the year is our small way of recognizing and thanking our visitors. When they cross the border into Wisconsin, we want them to be treated to great customer service and fun experiences, so they’ll come back year after year.”

Included in the snack bags are dried cranberries from Cherryland’s Best in Appleton, Usinger’s sausage made at their historic factory in downtown Milwaukee, cheese curds from Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery in Ellsworth, a sampler bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans supplied by the official Jelly Belly Visitor Center in Pleasant Prairie, and homemade chocolates from Beernsten’s Confectionary in Manitowoc.

The Department of Tourism partners with local tourism organizations to serve travelers at eight locations – Beloit, Kenosha, La Crosse, Menomonie, Platteville, Prairie du Chien, Superior and Marinette. Centers offer free local, regional and statewide brochures and maps, along with personal service from trained professionals to help travelers find accommodations, events, attractions and activities.

According to AAA, 45.5 million Americans are planning a Thanksgiving road trip; an increase of 3.2 percent over last year. The 2017 holiday weekend will see the most Thanksgiving travelers since 2005. 

“Wisconsin’s travel and hospitality industry is crucial to our state and is a top performing sector of our economy,” Governor Scott Walker said. “I’m proud of the work that the Department of Tourism is doing to attract travelers to the state and grow the tourism economy, which topped $20 billion in 2016.”

The Department of Tourism’s 100 awards cover a wide range of marketing initiatives from billboards to bus shelters.  Public relations initiatives, advertising campaigns, website developments, social media projects and strategic partnerships were among the award-winning efforts. Stand out recognitions include “This is a Wisconsin Supper Club” campaign and TV commercials with celebrity tie-ins, such as Green Bay Packers favorite Jordy Nelson and a reunion of the cast of the movie “Airplane!” directed by Wisconsin natives David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams. Philanthropic efforts have been honored as well, including the annual “Big Bundle Up” warm clothing drive, which is going on now.

Tourism had a $20 billion impact on the state's economy in 2016. The total six-year growth of tourism activity is up more than $5.2 billion, a 35% increase.

The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the state as the Midwest’s premier travel destination for fun by executing industry-leading marketing programs and establishing strategic partnerships. The Department plays a significant role in generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. The portal for traveler information can be found at: www.travelwisconsin.com.