The EAA AirVenture air show, an annual event known for delighting visitors with its flight displays, has given an economic boost to the community for years. Each year, the show brings in over a half million visitors who contribute approximately $110 million to the Wisconsin economy, according to a University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh survey.
From July 23 to 29, 508,000 visitors attended AirVenture 2012, with 70 percent of attendees coming from outside Wisconsin. In fact, AirVenture drew 2,078 international visitors from Canada, Australia, Brazil, and 68 other nations.
Most of the economic impact is seen within a 50-mile radius of Oshkosh, but the economic impact continues to ripple throughout the state, says Dick Knapinksi, spokesman for EAA.
Increased tourism boosted the economic impact to hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. Some residents of Oshkosh gained from the influx of visitors by renting out their homes during the event.
Though a great deal of revenue is brought in from the show, according to Knapinski, it isn’t a focus of EAA. “We’re always looking to make the visitor experience better every year. It’s not about revenue; it’s about creating an experience that people will enjoy, that will be valuable to them, and that they would recommend to others, and that would take care of the revenue on its own.”