EAA AirVenture is one of Wisconsin's unique events that enable the state to attract tourists from around the world, according to Wisconsin Department of Tourism's deputy secretary. David Fantle made the comments at the annual Oshkosh Tourism Breakfast, hosted by the Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Oshkosh CVB is also the organization that hosts and coordinates Oshkosh housing availability during AirVenture.
"We are reaching out more to international audiences and inviting them to Wisconsin," Fantle said, while noting that the state attracted about 600,000 international visitors in 2011. "There are only a few events in the state that are an immediate draw for international tourism to Wisconsin, and EAA is certainly among them."
AirVenture annually draws visitors from more than 60 nations, and attracts media from five continents for the event.
EAA's annual fly-in also provides a significant amount of Winnebago County's economic benefit from tourism. The county, of which Oshkosh is the county seat, ranks 10th in Wisconsin tourism spending with $201.7 million dollars spent in 2011. That accounts for 4,600 jobs in the county and $26.7 million in local and state tax revenue each year.
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh studies have put AirVenture's annual economic benefit to the Oshkosh region at $110 million. More important to Wisconsin, more than 70 percent of all event visitors come from outside the state.
Additional events held on the EAA grounds, such as the Wisconsin Public Service Farm Show, supply additional tourism revenue to the Oshkosh area.