Gov. Evers, Dept. of Tourism: Announce Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry adds record $9.8 billion to state economy

Gov. Evers, Dept. of Tourism: Announce Wisconsin's outdoor ...

Gov. Evers, Dept. of Tourism: Announce Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry adds record $9.8 billion to state economy


MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers, together with Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Anne Sayers and Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation Director Mary Monroe Brown, today announced the latest release of data from the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The report shows that Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry contributed a record-breaking $9.8 billion to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022, growing 6.8 percent over the previous record set in 2021.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030. The SDGs are a call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. The SDGs are integrated and indivisible, meaning that progress in one goal will contribute to progress in others.

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

The contribution of Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry to the state’s GDP aligns with SDG 8, which aims to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. The industry’s record-breaking numbers indicate economic growth and job creation in the state.

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Outdoor recreation is core to Wisconsin’s culture and identity, contributing to sustainable cities and communities. The state’s natural places and outdoor activities attract visitors from near and far, supporting local businesses and creating jobs in communities. Investing in outdoor recreation is an investment in Wisconsin’s economy and way of life, in line with SDG 11.

Key Findings

The latest release of data from the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account reveals the following record-breaking metrics for Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry:

  1. $9.8 billion contributed to Wisconsin’s GDP (up 6.8 percent)
  2. 2.5 percent share of Wisconsin’s GDP (up 0.1 percent)
  3. 94,042 jobs supported (up 4.8 percent)
  4. 3.1 percent of state employment (up 0.1 percent)
  5. $4.7 billion in employee compensation (up 5.3 percent)

Contributing Sectors

The top contributing sectors by activity in Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry include:

  • Multi-use apparel and accessories: $1.15 billion
  • Motorcycling/ATV/UTV: $1.1 billion
  • Boating and Fishing: $710 million
  • RVing: $553 million

Travel and Tourism

Notably, travel and tourism associated with outdoor recreation grew to nearly $3 billion in 2022, increasing by 14.2 percent. Local trips (trips less than 50 miles) also saw growth, with an increase of 8.7 percent.

National Impact

Nationally, the outdoor recreation industry contributed more than $1 trillion in gross output to the U.S. economy, accounting for 2.2 percent of the nation’s GDP. The industry grew nearly 2.5 times faster than the U.S. economy as a whole, at 4.8 percent. It employed nearly five million people nationwide.


The record-breaking numbers from the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account highlight the significance of the outdoor recreation industry to Wisconsin’s economy. Investing in outdoor recreation not only drives economic growth but also contributes to sustainable cities and communities. The industry’s contribution aligns with SDG 8 and SDG 11, promoting decent work and economic growth and sustainable cities and communities. Continued investment in outdoor recreation and the preservation of public lands and waters will benefit local and national economies and enhance quality of life.


  1. Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account
  2. Contributing sectors


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