Local businesses benefit from summer tourism dollars

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- You've heard about Country Jam, Gus Macker and other large events that happen in Eau Claire each summer.

What you may not realize, is a summer event like those also bring in a lot of extra cash for hotels, restaurants and stores.

"It's big business," said Michael Strubel with Visit Eau Claire.

By big business, we are talking about a projected $3.8 million dollars so far this summer along and that is just on sporting events.

"And it's important in Eau Claire where you don't have a convention center facility, we have great convention center hotels but sports is where it's at," he said.

Perhaps one of the biggest events in Eau Claire each year is Country Jam.

"That event alone usually brings about $8 million to $9 million into the local economy," he added.

A lot of money. Visit Eau Claire uses a standard hospitality formula to figure out the numbers.

It involves multiplying the number of participants at an event, by a set amount of money they spend, by the number of nights they stay in the city.

Strubel says tourism dollars have been trending up over the last few summers. That is good news for Chuck Langland, General Manager at the Americinn in Eau Claire.

"I would say this hotel is probably up 8 to 9% for the summer," he said.

Some of that increased business is also due to Monday-Thursday travel and people going elsewhere for fun, but still stopping by and spending money in Eau Claire.

"It's kind of a new thing quite a few people have been mentioning they go to the Mall of America and head home, but they stay here in Eau Claire," he said.

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