Ted Bobrow

Doyle calls on state businesses to spend their meeting dollars here

By - Mar 18th, 2010 04:00 am
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midwesthiltonThe big news out of this year’s Wisconsin Governor’s Conference on Tourism which concluded Tuesday night at the Midwest Airlines Center here in Milwaukee is hardly news at all.

The recession hit the state’s tourism industry pretty hard, and one of the best things those of us who live here can do to help is to stop spending our money elsewhere.

Gov. Doyle unveiled a new campaign calling on Wisconsin’s homegrown businesses to consider holding their meetings and conferences in their home state. In what is being heralded as an unprecedented collaboration, Wisconsin’s Departments of Commerce and Tourism will work together to persuade in-state CEOs and other corporate decision-makers to spend their meeting dollars within the borders of the Badger State.

And certainly the same is true for individuals and families whose decisions about vacation and travel can have important implications on the state’s jobs and economy. Staying closer to home is good for the state’s bottom line as well as your own.

I wonder how many hours of high-priced consultants were needed to come up with this fairly obvious idea? I hope, at least, that they were Wisconsin-based consultants and that we didn’t once again send any of our money down to the Windy City to tell us what we need to do to promote our economy.

bronzefonzirish2Those of us who live here in Milwaukee and elsewhere in Wisconsin are used to being the butt of jokes by late night talk show hosts and others. W.C. Fields may have taken his share of potshots at Philadelphia but the City of Brotherly Love never had to deal with Lenny and Squiggy.

But we also know that Wisconsin is a great place to live, work and vacation. Milwaukee offers most of the amenities of a big city without many of the drawbacks and the rest of the state includes great destinations ranging from the Wisconsin Dells to Door County, with locales that offer hunting and fishing, architectural gems and world-class golf courses. That’s not even mentioning the many untapped treasures and “day-cation” possibilities that Wisconsin has to offer.

Of course there’s no harm in stating the obvious, and I support the governor’s campaign to encourage Wisconsinites to stay close to home when traveling for business and pleasure. I applaud companies like Harley Davidson and Northwestern Mutual that already routinely hold meetings and events here in our wonderful city.

Spring is in the air, we got to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day  in a town that practically invented beer and our city will serve as one of the hosts for the opening round of March Madness. What a great week to be in Milwaukee!

On a side note, I do feel compelled to share an insight into Milwaukee’s Hilton Hotel where many of the visitors to this week’s conference were staying. Some folks were puzzled that the highly promoted Paradise Landing water park is only open on the weekends. Man, that would really piss off the Fonz.

Categories: Business, Gray Matter

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