Visit Milwaukee creates a web site for Tosa, which doesn't even tell you how to get there.
“Wauwatosa is an integral part of Milwaukee’s tourism scene, and the new website helps to centralize visitor information for travelers looking to discover the charm and unique attributes of Milwaukee’s neighbor to the west.”
But it you visit the VisitWauwatosa site you’ll find it has no link showing people how to get to Wauwatosa to discover its charm and unique attributes. It does, however, offer this cheery message under the heading of “Transportation.”
“No matter if you’re flying in, taking the train or setting out on a road trip, the routes to the Greater Milwaukee area are stress-free and easy to follow. Wauwatosa is just ten minutes away from downtown Milwaukee, and a number of transportation services (including buses, trolleys, taxis, rental cars and more) make it easy to find your way around the area.”
Trolleys? Yes, Wauwatosa was founded as a suburb connected to the city by streetcar, but the trolleys have been gone for decades, except for the ridiculous little red rubber-wheeled machines rented by the hour for bridal parties. There are many bus routes to the city via the county transit system and those could readily be highlighted in a map. However the only map available via the site is a rather crude pdf of the Visit Milwaukee map, which does not include a map of Wauwatosa. (Since they don’t provide one, we will.)
You’d think that a group aimed at tourists and conventioneers would have taken the time to provide a good transit map for folks who might care to take a quick jaunt just west of downtown to see the wonders of Wisconsin’s 14th largest city. It is just 36 minutes by bus from the front door of the convention center!
So why even bother making a VisitWauwatosa.org website?
Wauwatosa is the only city in the region (other than Milwaukee) that contributes to the funding of Visit Milwaukee and its 34 full-time employees. The City of Wauwatosa collects a 7 percent room tax on anyone who stays at its seven hotels. It collected over $900,000 in 2011, of which 30 percent was turned over to Visit Milwaukee. Under state law, any city that collects a room tax must turn over a portion to a tourism agency like Visit Milwaukee, or create its own.
Glendale, with about $700,000 per year in room taxes, used to send its money to Visit Milwaukee, but instead helps fund the Glendale Convention and Visitors Bureau. WelcometoGlendale.com also lacks a good map of the community, when maps are so easy to come by these days, but is marginally more helpful in the “How to Get Here” category than the Tosa site.
Visit Milwaukee, officially known as The Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau, reported 2013 receipts of nearly $8 million. Its CEO, Paul Upchurch, was paid $282,894 that year.
It’s time our suburbs and Visit Milwaukee itself do a better job of telling visitors where they are, and how to get there, 21st century style.