Wisconsin's most popular football stadium and a new on-line game designed to teach middle-school students about educational travel opportunities were in the spotlight Monday at the Governor's Conference on Tourism.
Sports Illustrated magazine calls Lambeau Field the "eighth best venue in the world to watch sports."
And more than 7,000 middle school students have followed First Lady Jessica Doyle on her travels in "Where in Wisconsin is Jessica Doyle?"
Gov. Jim Doyle recognized the achievements of these two noteworthy projects for the significant attention they have brought the state's travel and hospitality industry.
First Lady Jessica Doyle and the renovated Lambeau Field each received the Governor's Award for 'Putting Wisconsin on the Map' during the Governor's Conference on Tourism at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay. A special taped message from the Governor was played during the luncheon presentation.
"It is important to recognize projects that bring significant local, regional and national attention to the travel industry in Wisconsin," Sec. Jim Holperin said. "Every state is going to be known for something, and I can think of no better trademarks than an exciting and historic culture and a stadium that has reached Mecca status."
The First Lady's "Where in Wisconsin is Jessica Doyle?" promotion has captured the attention of thousands of middle-school students since the project started last summer through a special website, whereisjessica.wi.gov, and weekly coverage in more than a dozen newspapers.
In an effort to make young people aware of travel destinations in the state that are both fun and educational, Mrs. Doyle has floated down the Mississippi on a paddleboat, toured the historic Tallman House in Janesville, and stood at the geographic center of the northern half of the western hemisphere.
Although the Green Bay Packers helped to put Green Bay and Wisconsin 'on the map' many years ago, the recent renovations of Lambeau Field have attracted even more national attention to the state.
A dramatic facelift has reinvented Lambeau Field into a year-round destination with a host of new amenities and attractions. Sports fans and travelers alike are making the pilgrimage to the five-story Lambeau Field Atrium, which now includes a new 25,000-square-foot Packers Hall of Fame, corporate meeting and event facilities, seven different eating options, interactive areas and an expanded Packers Pro Shop.
"I'm very happy to stand here and say that the stadium is doing exactly what we promised it would do," said Bob Harlan, the Packers' president and CEO. "We have jumped into the second quartile in revenue which will keep the Packers a viable part of this league, we're booking events into the year 2008 and John Jones and his staff have done a remarkable job of marketing this great facility.
"I always tell people that there are four of these great stadiums left in the country," Harlan added. "There's Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Lambeau Field. We can tell you folks and we can tell our players that this is where the Lombardi teams practiced and played. And to retain that tradition was our number one goal. We've done that and we're delighted to receive this award."
Last fall, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism unveiled the award designed to honor groups that make achievements in promoting Wisconsin attractions and destinations.
The Great River Road project was the first to receive this award in recognition of being named one of the "Ten Best Scenic Drives" by the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).
Nominations for future recipients can be sent to Jerry Huffman, WI Department of Tourism Communications Director.