A woman rides her bike in front of the State capitol

Photo by SV Heart Photography

Industry Research

In Spring 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism released results from an annual study by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics Company that measures tourism's impact on total business sales, employment and taxes.

And the results were impressive.

Tourism is a billion-dollar industry for Dane County. The economic benefit that visitors bring to our area translates into a healthy economy that affects resident income, taxes, job creation and continued enhancement of the quality of life we all enjoy.

A few facts:

  • The Dane County visitor economy continued to expand in 2016, growing 7%.
  • In 2016, visitor spending generated more than $2 billion in total business sales as tourism dollars flowed through hotels, restaurants, attractions and more in our community.
  • This spending supports more than 21,650 full-time equivalent jobs in Dane County.


In February 2015, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events™ (IAEE), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and The EXPERIENCE Institute® released the first in a series of reports on research about the factors that influence travelers to attend conventions and exhibitions. As a proud sponsor, we are pleased to share the Decision to Attend Study—Phase One report, which includes data such as:

  • One-half of attendees combine attending a meeting with a vacation opportunity, resulting in additional room nights.
  • Another half of attendees bring someone with them, multiplying overall spend.
  • Three-quarters of attendees take advantage of destination offerings by 'getting out and about', with Gen Y Millennials leading the pack at 85 percent.
  • Eight in 10 will recommend the destination, exhibition and/or event to others, if the experience is positive.
  • Three-quarters of attendees will consider returning to the destination for leisure travel, if the experience is positive.

Read the full report.


In January 2015, Destination Analysts released its State of the American Traveler report, which showed America’s love affair with leisure travel remains strong, and expectations are that we will continue the pattern of stability seen in recent years. Read this report to learn more about spending statistics, technology trends and more.


When we know where people visit--and why they visit--Destination Madison can begin to build on what we know and work to bring even greater economic impact to our area.

Recent research indicates that the primary purpose of Madison-area visits include:

         • University of Wisconsin-Madison
         • Monona Terrace® Community and Convention Center
         • Alliant Energy Center
         • State Capitol

This same research indicates that the top three activities during visits include:

         • Dining (65%)
         • Shopping (47.7%)
         • Sightseeing (32.5%)

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Board of Directors

Board of Directors | Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau

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