Lincoln County achieves record tourism numbers for 2023

Tomahawk, Merrill Chambers highlight successes, look to future

By Jalen Maki

Tomahawk Leader Editor

LINCOLN COUNTY – Lincoln County had a record year for tourism in 2023.

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism, on Tuesday, June 11, released economic data for 2023, showing that tourism had a $25 billion impact throughout Wisconsin, making it the best year for tourism in state history.

Wisconsin topped a record year – in 2022, the Badger State saw a $23.7 billion economic impact from tourism.

Lincoln County also had its best year for tourism to date. A total economic impact of $109 million was generated by tourism in Lincoln County in 2023, beating the county’s previous record of $103 million, set in 2022.

A release from the Merrill Area Chamber of Commerce said Wisconsin’s historic year in tourism was fueled by economic impact growth in all 72 counties, a record number of overnight visitors for a second consecutive year and investments tourism businesses made in goods and services.

Last year, Lincoln County tourism supported 665 part- and full-time jobs across various sectors of the industry, part of the more than 178,000 jobs sustained by tourism across the state, according to the Merrill Chamber.

Tourism in Lincoln County also generated $6 million in local and state tax revenue in 2023. Statewide, tourism generated $1.6 billion in local and state tax revenue last year.

“Without this revenue, each Wisconsin household would pay an additional $660.00 to maintain the current level of government services,” the Merrill Chamber stated.

“We have really seen a benefit as a Chamber and Visitor’s Center in developing stronger strategic partnerships with the City of Merrill, Lincoln County and the Tomahawk Area Chamber to drive tourism to our local communities,” said Clyde Nelson, Executive Director of the Merrill Chamber.

The Tomahawk Regional Chamber of Commerce said in a release that it is “thrilled to see the effort of so many organizations in Lincoln County paying off.”

“Lincoln County is a gateway to the Northwoods,” the Tomahawk Chamber stated. “Seeing the efforts garnering a return is success in the best way. Tourism is a large portion of our economic success in the Tomahawk area. As the Chamber, we strive to support our local businesses by driving those tourism dollars to our region.”

The Tomahawk Chamber added that the relationships the organization has with Tomahawk Main Street Inc. and other local partners have helped drive the success of tourism in the area, noting that without those partnerships working towards a similar goal, “these numbers would not be as high as they are.”

“We share the successes within Lincoln County with the Merrill Chamber,” the Tomahawk Chamber said. “Efforts by both Chambers are showing greater returns every year. We look forward to growing our partnership with the Merrill Chamber and continuing to promote Lincoln County together.”

To learn more about Wisconsin tourism’s record-breaking year and view the 2023 economic data, including a county-by-county breakdown, visit

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