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Successful summer of tourism following fires in Three Lakes that burned down popular attractionsSubmitted: 09/19/2019
Story By Stephen Goin

Successful summer of tourism following fires in Three Lakes that burned down popular attractions
ONEIDA COUNTY - Thousands of visitors filled the Northwoods this summer helping the state see a 12% increase in tourist arrivals.

Events like the Wisconsin State Fair and the EAA Airventure in Oshkosh also had record breaking attendance. 1.1 million people attended the fair while nearly 600,000 attended the airplane innovation event.

The Town of Three Lakes saw some of that traffic, but people might have had trouble finding a place to stay.

Following fires in February and March that burned down the Three Lakes Diner and the Oneida Village Inn, tourist traffic actually seemed to increase.

Three Lakes Chamber Executive Director Collette Sorgel said the Three Lakes 4th of July celebration was busier than in years past and Oktoberfest saw a 30% increase in attendees.

"Lot of calls come into the chamber asking can you help me find a place, I used to stay at the Oneida village," said Sorgel. "I feel we did a good job as keeping as many people here as we could."

In the Minocqua area, Chamber Executive Director Krystal Westfahl said the annual Dragonboat Festival drew tourists from across the country.

While the summer was successful, Westfahl wants to see a big economic impact year round.

"We have traveler's that are coming from as far south as St. Lous and beyond and they're not necessarily coming for an event but it's a really great thing to have while they're here to do," said Westfahl.

The state Department of Tourism said good weather and low price of gas could have contributed to this year's tourist traffic.

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