April 14, 2021, 6:20 p.m.

Tyler job

Posted: Apr 14, 2021 at 6:20 pm

Updated: April 14, 2021, 6.30 p.m.

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WKBT) – The region generated more than a quarter of a billion dollars in direct visitor spend in 2019, according to La Crosse’s leading tourism companies.

Then the tourism dollars refueled in 2020.

But the prospects for this summer look better than expected.

Riverfest, country boom, moon melodies.

These are just a few of the regional festivals making a comeback in 2021.

“Festivals are tens of millions of dollars in economic impact for us,” said AJ Frels, executive director of Explore La Crosse.

Exactly how much money do our parties bring in? It’s hard to pinpoint.

“We also see a lot of day-trippers coming in,” Frels said.

And a large part of those dollars will flow in during the summer months.

“We are certainly expecting a faster recovery, if you will, than other areas,” said Frels.

Frels attributes this to the unique place we live.

“The outdoor activities that we offer are natural social distancing,” said Frels. “It comes of course for us.”

The return of the festivities will only help kickstart our economy.

“The vaccines helped,” said Terry Bauer, executive director of Downtown Mainstreet. “So there is a real optimism, a real energy in the inner city.”

Something that companies in the city center and our hotels have missed a lot.

“The companies had 30 to 40 percent less than in previous years,” said Bauer.

“We definitely had a success with COVID last year,” said Michel Gabbud, General Manager of Charmant.

But Gabbud says the hotel has been stable since the fall.

“We have a very unique building, unique staff, unique service,” said Gabbud.

And with music, festivals and parties returning to their rightful homes, bright summer days lay ahead of us.

“These special events were a driving force for us,” said Gabbud.

Frels believes it will take two to three years for the region’s economy to fully recover.