EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Visit Eau Claire have formed a strategic partnership to expand and enhance local tourism.

The partnership will provide Visit Eau Claire with improved access to new and existing university facilities for events, enabling the organization to more effectively market the Eau Claire area.

Visit Eau Claire and UW-Eau Claire signed a facility use agreement May 17 during the Wisconsin Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus Leadership Breakfast with state and local leaders at UW-Eau Claire’s W.R. Davies Student Center. The facility use agreement will provide Visit Eau Claire with preferred scheduling of university facilities during off-peak university calendar periods such as summer and the weeks between the fall and spring semesters.

The agreement will help Visit Eau Claire to attract groups and activities that previously have been too large for other area facilities to accommodate, said Linda John, Visit Eau Claire executive director.

“This facilities partnership with UW-Eau Claire immediately opens up opportunities to generate close to $5 million in new visitor spending by inviting groups we have previously had to turn away,” John said. “Additionally, as a result of the additional facility inventory, we have more to offer when selling Eau Claire. This is great news for both the event planners and the Eau Claire community.”

Given the capacity and capabilities of the new W.R. Davies Student Center for potential conferences, and that the facilities available on campus are unique to the area, the agreement will leverage strengths and resources of both parties to more effectively attract new tourism business and increase the economic impact to the Eau Claire area, said Dr. Gilles Bousquet, UW-Eau Claire interim chancellor.

“This strategic partnership between Visit Eau Claire and the university will benefit the Eau Claire area as a destination for conventions, sporting events, and the group tour and leisure markets, and it also will contribute to regional economic growth through increased room tax and sales tax revenue,” Bousquet said.

In addition to signing the facility use agreement, Visit Eau Claire will increase its Fun Patrol promotion of UW-Eau Claire events to increase awareness in the community of happenings on campus.

For more information, contact Kristin Cook, Visit Eau Claire, at 715-831-2345 or kristin@visiteauclaire.com.