5/6/12 – Wisconsin visitors spent almost 10-billion-dollars last year – eight-percent more than in 2010. The state Tourism Department released the figures. Over 95-million people visited the Badger State in 2011, and they supported 181-thousand jobs. This was the second straight year of sizable increases, following the end of the Great Recession. Tourists and visitors spent $9.9 billion dollars last year, which generated total business sales of around $16-billion. The tourist spending was about $700-million-dollars more than in 2010, and almost $1.5 billion more than in the recession-plagued year of 2009. Hotels, motels and lodges report volume was up 18% when compared to 2009. Spending by visitors jumped by more than 20% in three counties: Columbia, Fond du Lac and Monroe. Visitors to Wisconsin in 2011 generated more than $1.3 billion dollars in state and local revenue. In Dodge County, visitors spent over $60 million dollars last year, an increase of 4.28% from 2010. Governor Scott Walker called tourism a “core strength” of the state’s economy. And he said the higher spending reflects the investment the state has made in marketing for tourists. Milwaukee remains the state’s top tourist spot. Just over $1.5 billion dollars were spent by visitors to Milwaukee County in 2011.