Tourism Brings Jobs to Wisconsin

Channel3000: While a historic Wisconsin resort reopens it's doors -- state tourism officials say it's just one example of their industry is bouncing back.

Job numbers released Thursday indicate in the last month, the state added 9,500 new private sector jobs. And the sub-category that saw the largest gains was in tourism -- specifically in the area of "Accommodations and Food service" -- 4,800 new jobs were added in that sector from May to June. None of those jobs are considered seasonal.

It makes sense in Delavan -- as Lake Lawn Resort reopened it's doors on Friday. The resort closed its doors late last year, due to a bankruptcy, leaving lots of uncertainty."To me, this is the life blood of the Delavan area," resort manager Dave Sekeres said. "I live here locally -- and what it had done when the resort was closed, I could see the impact."

But on Friday, under new ownership, workers welcomed their first guests of the season back to the resort. Just about everything at Lake Lawn has reopened to what it was before -- many areas also renovated.

Lisa Marshall from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism says it's a clear sign of the times. "this is a really good sign that things are turning around for Wisconsin's tourism economy," she said. Why such a big increase in tourism in just the last month? Marshall says it really is all about the timing -- and with more reservations coming in during what's traditionally a prime season for destinations. Marshall says destination owners are getting more confident.

"Tourism is big and really starts to peak in May and June," Marshall said. "You start to see the trend and you start to see the reservations going up -- and then you start to get confident that I can bring people in, I've got travelers coming, our phones are ringing."

This is all welcome news in Delavan -- a community that relied, as a whole, on the tourists that Lake Lawn brought in. "It just continues to stimulate everything," Sekeres said.

State tourism leaders say it's hard to tell exactly where those jobs are -- but it's clear they're seeing this trend statewide. Not only is Delavan's Lake Lawn reopening, but Telemark resort in Cable also has reopened. Marshall says other resorts and destinations also added jobs to keep up with the increase in guests. She says some of the bigger increases have been seen in the restaurant industry and among smaller businesses, like bed and breakfasts.

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