VISIT Milwaukee touts new initiatives to attract more visitors to Wisconsin, Milwaukee

NOW: VISIT Milwaukee touts new initiatives to attract more visitors to Wisconsin, Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Local tourism experts are working on new ways to attract tourists to Wisconsin and Milwaukee.

Monday, May 2, they celebrated "National Travel and Tourism Week" with updates on their plans for 2022 and beyond.

Tourism numbers for Wisconsin and Milwaukee are on the rebound, but VISIT Milwaukee says it will take some time to return to 2019 levels.

"I think that we're looking at 2024 to get back to 2019 levels in terms of occupancy and complete recovery," said President and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee Peggy Williams-Smith.

One event that, without question, would highlight the city is the 2024 Republic National Convention (RNC). Milwaukee and Nashville are the top two finalists. VISIT Milwaukee's president and CEO says they're keeping RNC officials up-to-date on what the city can offer.

"Right now our hotels have three sets of dates, as do the Wisconsin Center and Fiserv Forum. We're assimilating all of those rates, the three separate dates, and from there we'll be able to put together a full package hopefully by the end of this week or the beginning of next week," she explained.

VISIT Milwaukee has predicted the RNC would bring about 45,000 people to the city and have a $200 million economic impact.

This year, the visitor's bureau is launching campaigns and planning events to attract more diverse travelers, too.

For the first time, they're teaming up with EBONY Magazine.

"As well as a drop in Minneapolis to try to get some of those tourists into Milwaukee," Smith said.

The organization is also relying on Milwaukee's history and popularity of cultural festivals.

"Our full slate, minus Festa Italiana, is coming back this year. We're really excited to promote that," she added.

"Last year, during the COVID pandemic, 85,000 people came to Mexican Fiesta over three days in 2021. Hopefully this year, 2022, we have a larger footprint," said Mexican Fiesta Board of Directors President Ruben Burgos.

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