More Highway Sign (SIS) Info &
New State Tourism Data Released 
May 2, 2014 


Dear WH&LA Lodging Member:  

A number of members contacted us for further information on the state SIS program for the Blue Highway Signs, which enables properties to market their logo before the highway exit to their property. In addition, today, Governor Walker rolled out the Tourism Economic Impact Numbers for 2013, which can now be publicly shared.


SIS PROGRAM- Blue Highway Signs 
The following are some questions the WH&LA posed to the state Department of Transportation, along with their responses, to provide further clarification to their recent announcement regarding the vendor change for the signage program. 


  1. For lodging properties or restaurants in the middle of a contract with the last vendor, who will now provide the service, and is there any action required from the property? 
    Effective May 1, 2014, Interstate Logos - Wisconsin will be taking over the SIS signing program from Derse. Interstate Logos will be performing all service to these signs. Interstate Logos will be taking over the contracts from the businesses and there will be no additional costs charged to you. Interstate Logos plans to make contacts with each business and will introduce themselves and provide contacts and an invoicing address. You may also feel free to contact Interstate Logos at any time at 608/381-9242.
  2. Will there be any changes in areas where all of the logo spots are sold out?
    Current Wisconsin Administrative Code has essentially a "first come first serve" policy regarding the logos. If an interchange is maxed out, businesses are placed on a waiting list. Unless there would be a change with the Administrative Code, this policy would not change; however, a recent Administrative Code change now will allow four business logos on a sign with two categories, where previously the maximum was three. This Administrative Code change will allow for several businesses on waiting lists to now get logo signs, which should help.
  3. If a lodging property or restaurant is currently not participating, but they now would like to, who do they contact?
    Interested businesses may contact Interstate Logos directly at 608/381-9242.
  4. Is there a website with all of the information on this program in one place?
    Interstate Logos has a website with contact information, available here.
  5. When will there be more information available about future plans, and will there be any opportunity for industry input?
    Yes. There have been discussions about making revisions to the Wisconsin Statutes and Administrative Code involving SIS signs that will help provide more opportunities for businesses to be signed. Industry will be able to provide input to any proposed changes. Also, Interstate Logos - Wisconsin has an aggressive marketing plan that will provide better outreach to businesses to help increase the amount of signing for them.  



Wisconsin Tourism Industry Continues Steady Growth In 2013 
Tourism economy up 4 percent, visits to the state topped 100 million


May 2, 2013 (Madison): Travelers spending their hard-earned vacation dollars in Wisconsin remains big business for the state as tourism delivered a $17.5 billion impact to the economy last year. Tourism activity was up 4 percent or $700 million from $16.8 billion in 2012 and continues to show stable, long-term growth according to just released economic impact figures.That's the message being presented today by Governor Scott Walker and Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett as they kick off this year's National Travel and Tourism Week, May 3-11, at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
"The travel and hospitality industry continues to be an important and strong performing sector for Wisconsin's economy," said Governor Walker. "Investing in tourism promotion and marketing at the national, state and local level is an effective way to attract visitors and keep the economy growing."
Key Results: The total three-year growth of tourism activity is more than $2.7 billion, up from $14.8 billion in 2010, an 18 percent increase for this period, according to Tourism Economics, the research firm commissioned by the Department of Tourism. Visitor growth in 2013 was the fastest since 2010, with Wisconsin receiving 100 million visits last year, an increase of 3.5 percent. Other industry indicators included a strong upswing in day travelers, which helped push recreation and entertainment spending up 6.3 percent and food and beverage up by 6.2 percent. International travel, which includes overseas and Canada, totaled $700 million, up $100 million from the previous year, and accounted for 6 percent of all travel last year.
Tourism supports nearly 185,000 jobs and $4.6 billion in personal income. One in nearly 13 jobs in Wisconsin relies on tourism. Visitors generated $1.35 billion in state and local revenue and $1 billion in federal taxes in 2013, saving Wisconsin taxpayers nearly $590 per household.  Individual county information figures are also available here.
"The past three years have been outstanding for Wisconsin's tourism industry," said Secretary Klett. "The increased investment in tourism marketing has allowed us to expand our advertising campaigns and leverage celebrities with Wisconsin ties, bring in the nation's top travel writers to experience our destinations, tap into international markets, and attract lucrative sporting events, meetings, and conventions."
Marketing Translates into Travelers: According to Longwoods International, for every $1 the Department spent on its 2013 summer and fall advertising campaigns, $6 was returned to state and local governments in incremental tax revenue. In March, the Department's 2014 TV ad campaign made pop culture history by reuniting "Airplane!" stars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Hays with Wisconsin natives and "Airplane!" writers and directors David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams. The summer, fall and winter spots include seasonal aerial footage of Wisconsin along with new scenes filmed in the original cockpit of the movie. In addition, last year's public relations efforts generated over $70 million in earned media and 1.5 billion impressions. In another sign of increased interest in travel to Wisconsin, visits to and its app totaled 4.1 million in 2013, up 25 percent.
This year's summer tourism campaign launches the week of May 12, and will run in markets across Wisconsin, northern Illinois, the Twin Cities, and in eastern Iowa.
Tourism Economics is an Oxford Economics company providing analyses of the tourism sector. Longwoods International is a globally recognized leader in travel research, with over 30 years of experience with a hospitality client list, including Michigan, Ohio, Philadelphia, and Canada.




Contact: Trisha Pugal
Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association