PRESS RELEASE: Hmong American Center receives tourism grant

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Kristina LeVan, Wisconsin Department of Tourism
608-266-0458; klevan@travelwisconsin.comYee Leng Xiong, The Hmong American Center, Inc.
715-842-8390; Xiong.yeeleng@yahoo.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WAUSAU FESTIVAL CELEBRATES HMONG CULTURE WITH HELP FROM MULTICULTURAL TOURISM GRANT

Inaugural event highlights sports, music and art within the Hmong community

WAUSAU, Wis. (Mar. 22, 2017) – The Hmong American Center, Inc. is celebrating the history, culture and heritage of the Hmong community during the first-ever Hmong Wausau Festival, taking place July 29-30. With help from a $10,000 Multicultural Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, the festival aims to attract Hmong community members and visitors from across the Midwest.

“This project clearly demonstrates that funding tourism marketing initiatives produces a sound return on investment for the local economy,” Governor Walker said. “Tourism is part of Wisconsin’s economic foundation and its continued growth is a priority for my administration because of the nearly 191,000 jobs it supports, the tax revenues it generates and the positive image it projects for the State.”

The Hmong Wausau Festival gives visitors a taste of both traditional and modern Hmong music, dancing, food and sports, with performances, competitions and lectures taking place throughout the weekend. More than 50 percent of the United States Hmong population is living in the Midwest, making Wausau’s central location in Wisconsin and the Midwest a prime location for the festival. The event is expected to attract over 6,000 attendees, generating an estimated $476,000 in visitor spending in the Wausau area. Grant funds will be used for online, print, broadcast, social media and direct mail advertising.

“The Hmong community has been sharing their arts and culture with the Midwest for more than 40 years. We are excited to support The Hmong American Center in their efforts to showcase everything from traditional Hmong food to sporting events,” said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. “The festival will not only celebrate Hmong culture, but also create a positive economic impact in the area.”

In 2015, the tourism economy in Wisconsin totaled $19.3 billion, a more than four percent increase from 2014. Since 2010, tourism activity in the state added 18,717 jobs to the economy, an 11% increase in travel and hospitality employment opportunities for Wisconsin residents. Visitors generated $1.5 billion in state and local revenue. Wisconsin taxpayers would need to pay $640 per household in order to maintain current government services. Total business sales in Marathon County reached more than $404.2 million in 2015, supporting 4,170 jobs and $29.4 million in state and local taxes.

“After 40 years of calling Wausau home, the Hmong community hopes to share its culture, food, and talents to the Wausau area by hosting the first ever Hmong Festival,” said Kham Thong Yang, Hmong American Center, Inc. Board President. “The $10,000 grant from the Department of Tourism will go a long way in making this festival come true. We are excited to have people from all over the Midwest join us in this celebration.”
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The Multicultural Grant Program promotes multicultural events that celebrate the many unique cultural assets that bring visitors to Wisconsin. These grants help cover promotional costs associated with unique Hispanic, Asian and African American events to inform and educate visitors. For information on the Multicultural Grant Program and application materials, visit http://industry.travelwisconsin.com.
The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the State as the Midwest’s premier travel destination for fun by executing industry-leading marketing programs and establishing strategic partnerships. The Department plays a significant role in generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. The portal for traveler information can be found at: www.travelwisconsin.com.[PHOTO CAPTION: The Wisconsin Department of Tourism and Wausau/Central Wisconsin CVB present grant and sponsor checks to the Hmong American Center for the inaugural Hmong Wausau Festival. Pictured: Jeff Anderson, Wisconsin Department of Tourism Regional Tourism Specialist; Yee Leng Xiong, Executive Director of the Hmong American Center; Kham Thong Yang, Board President of the Hmong American Center; Richard Barrett, Executive Director for Wausau/Central Wisconsin CVB; and Representative Patrick Snyder (District 85). Also in the photo are members of the student planning committee for the Hmong Wausau Festival, board members of the Hmong American Center and Nick Ockwig from the Wausau/Central Wisconsin CVB.

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