EAU CLAIRE (WEAU) New numbers from Visit Eau Claire show a large increase in tourism business across the Chippewa Valley.
Visit Eau Claire, the tourism bureau for the Chippewa Valley, said tourists spent an estimated $322 million in the Chippewa Valley in 2010.
Visit Eau Claire said they saw increases across many sectors, with the largest increase in hotel revenue.
“We think it has a lot to do with a strong marketing effort. The trends are really in our favor with people staying close to home and driving shorter distances,” said Visit Eau Claire Executive Director Linda John.
The Eau Claire Room Tax was up 10.8% for the year, reaching over $1.3 million in room tax collections, John said.
The Eau Claire Indoor Sports Center said it has seen a big jump in attendance at events that draw in families.
“Trade shows and large events like the Farm Show, the Home and Garden Show and the Humane Foundation. We had a large turn out from our community and surrounding communities with those that travel,” said Eau Claire Indoor Sports Center Executive Director Amy Peterson.
Experts believe drawing in tourists for just one event spreads the wealth to area businesses.
“The visitor dollar is shared in a very diverse way. 90% of tourist businesses are small businesses and the tourism dollar goes to shopping and retail,” John said.
Visit Eau Claire said the tourism industry in the Chippewa Valley supported 4,566 jobs and generated over $16.72 million to local government in 2010, as well as $39.67 million in state government revenue.
On Tuesday, Visit Eau Claire unveiled its new “Fun Patrol” vehicle.
Visit Eau Claire said it will act as a mobile visitor center that will travel to local events equipped with laptop computers and other visitor information.