Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett is pushing a plan to increase spending for tourism by creating a couple of freebie weekends for hunting, camping or operating recreational vehicles in Wisconsin, the Green Bay Post Gazette reported.
Under the plan, for two weekends a year — one in summer and one in winter — all permits and registration fees will be waived. In return, Barrett said more people would come to the state, creating an influx in revenue from hotel and sales taxes that can be used to launch an ad campaign promoting Wisconsin as a tourist-friendly state.
“By doing this, we’re going to send a message that we want more visitors to our state because we’re convinced the more visitors come to our state, they’ll continue to come back,” he said Monday (Aug. 23) at a campaign stop at Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay.
“We think that it can generate additional dollars for whatever is lost during that two- or three-day period.”
Barrett didn’t say how much revenue could be generated or how much he would spend on marketing the state, but the goal is to key in on the large metropolitan markets in Minneapolis-St. Paul and Chicago.
When asked if he was concerned people who already travel to Wisconsin will now be getting free weekends instead of putting money into the state’s bank account, Barrett said even that scenario would still be beneficial.
“If you’re smart enough to come during those weekends, we think it’s great because we know you’re going to spend money for amusement parks, for restaurants, for hotels, and you’re going to talk about it,” he said. “That’s the whole purpose.”
Barrett is the only major Democrat running for governor. He will face the winner of the Sept. 14 GOP primary — between Scott Walker and Mark Neumann — in the Nov. 2 general election.