Tourist Spending Increased in 2012 for Oneida County
Story By Kailey Burton
ONEIDA COUNTY - This year it seems like tourists may NEVER come if this weather keeps up, but last year in Oneida County tourism was up.
Visitors spent 5.56% more than they did the year before. That's an extra $10 million for a total of $186 million.
Popular events consistently bring in visitors, but THIS much of an increase could mean the economy is getting better, and teamwork in advertising is paying off.
"The prices are rising, maybe less flights, people aren't flying as much. Because we're a 'drive-to' destination in Wisconsin, that boosts our overall toursim. And when you think of visiting Wisconsin, a lot of people think of the Northwoods so we hope to capture some of that," said Lara Reed, with the Oneida County Tourism Council.
Tourist dollars helped support more than 1,500 jobs in Oneida County in 2012. One of the biggest events is Hodag Country Festival. That draws in an average of $3 million PER DAY.
VILAS COUNTY - Many snowmobile trails in Eagle River still need more grooming after all three trail groomers went out of service. The trails didn't get groomed for four days last week because all three of the Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club's trail groomers need repairs.
The club hasn't had all of their groomers working for a couple of weeks. Sno-Eagles President Ken Storms said the trails took a big hit last week when all three went down. The club says it has made a concerted effort to catch up with trail grooming, and get the trails smoothed out.
PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.
The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.
"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."
VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County finally got what it wanted. For fifteen years, the county had needed someone to act as a full-time Recreational Officer--someone to monitor public safety on the snowmobile and ATV trails as well as the lakes and rivers. Now, Vilas County Deputy Sheriff Randy Schneider will fill that role.
WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received a record number of phone calls to the helpline in 2014â€"14,731 to be exact. This is a 5.6 percent increase from calls received in 2013.
Some of the callers reported having to file for bankruptcy or having thoughts of suicide. The report from the Council also calculated $47,000 as the average gambling debt of callers in 2014, and $20,000 as the median debt.
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