Driftless Wisconsin

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Driftless Wisconsin President Rick Kettner crowns Wisconsin Secretary of Tourism Stephanie Klett as the new “Princess of Driftless Wisconsin” during the Driftless Wisconsin Tourism Summit at the Barn Restaurant Monday night.

 

Secretary of Tourism keynote 

speaker at Driftless Wisconsin 

Tourism Summit in Prairie du Chien

By Ted Pennekamp

 

There were about 50 enthusiastic people on hand for the annual Driftless Wisconsin Tourism Summit at the Barn Restaurant in Prairie du Chien Monday evening. 

The event included professional networking before and after the program, which included Wisconsin Secretary of Tourism Stephanie Klett as the keynote speaker. Other speakers included Driftless Wisconsin President Rick Kettner, Driftless Wisconsin Administrator Eric Frydenlund, Sherry Quamme of the Crawford County Tourism Council and the Mississippi River Parkway Commission, “Cowboy Joe” Rogan-Nordstrom of the Vernon County Tourism Council, Kathy Kuderer of the Vernon County Tourism Council and Meg Buchner of Megadesign. Buchner gave a social media report about Driftless Wisconsin. 

Among those in attendance were State Representative Lee Nerison and State Senator Jennifer Shilling, who were each recognized for the efforts in promoting tourism in the Driftless Region, especially in Crawford and Vernon counties. 

“Tourism is a huge economic engine,” said Klett, who noted that the tourism industry and the Wisconsin Department of Tourism should not be underestimated and considered frivolous just because they’re fun. “Tourism is a big deal. We’re making people happy to be alive.”

Direct visitor spending in Crawford County was $41.2 million in 2014, up 5.36 percent from 2013, according to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Direct visitor spending in Vernon County was $33.9 million in 2014, an increase of 5.88 percent from 2013.

These increases can surely be attributed in part to the continuing work of Driftless Wisconsin, which began in 2008 as an ad hoc committee of the Crawford County Tourism Council, the Vernon County Tourism Council and the Kickapoo Valley Association. It was incorporated as an organization in May of 2012 and now represents and promotes the two counties and the entire Kickapoo River watershed area. Its primary promotional tools include the popular Driftless Wisconsin Map, a website published at www.driftlesswisconsin.com, and an advertising campaign funded in part through a Wisconsin Department of Tourism JEM (Joint Effort Marketing) grant.

“We are excited and enthused by this collaboration,” said Sherry Quamme.

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