Governor Boosts Oshkosh Tourism at EAA
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker presents a check to Oshkosh CVB Executive Director Wendy Hielsberg at Tuesday’s ceremony at the EAA AirVenture Museum. Also pictured is EAA President/CEO Rod Hightower, who introduced the governor.
May 12, 2011 — The EAA AirVenture Museum was the proud host site as the Oshkosh Convention & Visitor Bureau received a $37,150 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday morning, as a highlight of National Tourism Week.
EAA President/CEO Rod Hightower introduced Oshkosh CVB executive director Wendy Hielsberg, who received the grant from Gov. Walker. The Oshkosh CVB had requested the ceremony take place at the museum because of EAA’s worldwide visibility and local prominence as a tourism attraction. EAA AirVenture alone brings in $110 million of annual economic benefit to Wisconsin, while the AirVenture Museum welcomes more than 120,000 visitors each year.
During the event, held in front of the museum’s Wright Flyer exhibit, Gov. Walker stated, “This will help make ‘Event City’ a key destination for people around the state, the country, and the world.” Oshkosh has adopted the new brand “Wisconsin's Event City.”
“The essence of Wisconsin is coming to EAA and all the other events. It’s just fun, it’s a good time,” said Gov. Walker, who has visited EAA AirVenture and the museum with his family and in his former role as Milwaukee County Executive.
The JEM grant will promote summer and fall travel throughout Winnebago County and is forecast to generate an economic impact of $690,000.
Hightower also met briefly with the governor and his staff prior to Tuesday’s ceremony and emphasized the importance of EAA’s role as a leading Wisconsin tourism benefit, especially as more than 70 percent of AirVenture visitors come from outside the state.
In a related event, Wisconsin Secretary of Tourism Stephanie Klett met separately with EAA’s marketing staff in Oshkosh on Wednesday, and offered the department’s assistance and support for AirVenture. Klett was also the keynote speaker at the Oshkosh Tourism Breakfast on Thursday.