Western Wisc. Could See Tourism Boost from Minn. Government Shutdown

MacIver News Service | July 1, 2011

[Hudson, Wisc…] Just before the Fourth of July weekend kicked off, a time when people head to the outdoors in droves, the Minnesota Government shutdown and closed many of its public outdoors venues. Now, Wisconsin communities are looking forward to picking up the slack.

Minnesota closed its state parks and campgrounds on Friday, when its Democrat governor and Republican legislature failed to reach a budget deal. Right now, Minnesota faces a $5 billion deficit and there is a $1.4 billion difference between the two sides’ plans.

“It will be interesting,” said Kim Heinemann, Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. “I think in general, I think we’ll have a busy weekend.  I’m positive it will help our economy.”

Heinemann told the MacIver News Service she’s been contacted by Minnesota TV stations that are interested in doing stories about Hudson, and that help could spur interest among twin city residents looking to get out this weekend.  Heinemann hopes even after the shutdown is over, Minnesotans will already be hooked on the Wisconsin hospitality.

“Hopefully we’ll attract some new folks that haven’t experienced our area before,” Heinemann said.

The boost in Minnesotan business might extend well beyond the Fourth of July weekend, since summer, in general, is the busiest time for Wisconsin’s tourism industry.

“For people looking to enjoy the outdoors, we’ll be seeing some more traffic, definitely,” Heinemann said.  “We’re open for business so come on over!”

Despite facing a $3.6 billion deficit, the Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature passed their two-year budget last month and Governor Scott Walker (R) signed the budget on the earliest date in more than 40 years.