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Listed below are some frequently asked questions about Destination Door County, Destination Door County programming, and about the tourism industry, followed by answers to those frequently asked questions.

What is the room tax rate? 

The room tax rate in Door County is 8%. Of the 8% collected, Wisconsin State Statute requires at least 70% be provided to a tourism entity to use for tourism promotion and tourism development activities and 30% goes to the municipality in which the tax was collected and can be used for whatever the municipality wants. In 2022, room tax collections totaled $11,074,315, with $3,322,294 (30%) distributed to municipalities and $7,752,021 distributed to the designated tourism entity, Destination Door County.

What does Destination Door County use room tax for? How does Destination Door County use room tax?

 DDC uses the room tax dollars they are provided from visitors who pay the tax to our lodging partners and that is collected by the Door County Tourism Zone to fund a variety of tourism promotion and tourism development activities. Some examples include funding for municipalities to help with local parks and tourism infrastructure, funding for community business association partners through the strategic community partnership program, the Community Investment Fund grant program, and funding core operations of the organization, which includes all marketing and management programs that optimize economic impact throughout Door County. Check out this flow chart to see where room tax goes in Door County. Wisconsin State Statute requires at least 70% of room tax be provided to a tourism entity to use for tourism promotion and tourism development activities, and 30% goes to the municipality in which the tax was collected and can be used for whatever the municipality wants.

How do municipalities benefit from room tax?

Municipalities directly benefit from room tax by receiving 30% of all dollars collected in their municipality. From 2007-2022, Door County’s 19 municipalities received $21,583,426 in room tax dollars. There are no restrictions with how a municipality can spend the 30% of room tax dollars they receive.  Additionally, municipalities receive room tax dollars each year as part of a special Destination Door County program called the municipal reimbursement program. This program provides municipalities with dollars to use for community improvement and beautification projects in parks and other public spaces. This amount totaled $376,057 in 2023. 

Municipalities also have access to additional room tax dollars through other Destination Door County programs including the Community Investment Fund, an electric vehicle charging station grant program, and other special one-time opportunities, including a special one-time program in 2023 that included $150,000 split up between all 19 municipalities for public park improvements and beautification projects.

How do residents benefit from room tax?

Residents benefit from room tax as a result of area municipalities receiving 30% of room taxes collected, which totaled $21,583,426 between 2007-2022. Those dollars are able to pay for anything a municipality wants, including things like emergency services, parks, road improvements, local infrastructure upgrades or to support their local community business association’s efforts. Residents also have access to public facilities or projects that are funded by two other Destination Door County programs, including the Municipal Reimbursement Program, which provides room tax dollars to municipalities over and above the 30% they already get ($376,000 in 2023) along with the Community Investment Fund grant program. 
Additionally, Door County’s visitor economy benefits all residents (some more directly than others) through things like jobs and wages earned from tourism, sales tax and premier resort area tax collections. The visitor economy, which is fueled in part through room taxes, also benefits residents by providing a more robust selection of restaurants, attractions and activities for residents to use and enjoy, enhancing the quality of life for those who live and work in Door County.  

Residents may also benefit from and utilize things Destination Door County produces like the Official Door County Destination Guide, the Door County Winter Guide, and  other informational pieces.

Why is there only a room tax? Why aren’t other tourism sectors charged a tax to help pay for destination marketing or management activities?

Currently in Wisconsin, the only approved funding mechanism available for community-based tourism promotion and tourism development activities is a tax on transient (30 days or less) lodging rentals, or a room tax. The room tax rate in Door County is 8%. At this time, state law does not allow for other taxes to be levied to help pay for community-based tourism promotion and tourism development activities.

What is Premier Resort Area Tax in Ephraim and Sister Bay? What can that be used for? Is it anywhere else?

The premier resort area tax (PRAT) is a local retail sales tax which was authorized by the Wisconsin Legislature and is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Under law, the sponsoring municipality may only use the proceeds of this tax to pay for infrastructure expenses within their jurisdiction. Currently in Door County only the villages of Ephraim and Sister Bay have received an exemption from the state and have enacted a premier resort area tax, which is 0.5%. Find current PRAT collection totals here.

Can room tax be used for emergency services?

Yes* - 30% of all room taxes go back to the municipal government where the tax was collected, and that municipal government has the ability to spend the dollars they get from room tax however they choose, including for things like roads, local infrastructure, public safety or emergency services. The remaining 70%, per state statute, must be spent on tourism promotion and tourism development by the designated tourism entity, which is Destination Door County.

What is the Community Investment Fund (CIF)?

The Community Investment Fund is a program the Destination Door County board, in collaboration with the Door County Tourism Zone, established in 2023 that uses room tax dollars generated by overnight visitors and reinvests those dollars back into the community through grant opportunities for Door County based 501(c)3 and 501(c)6 organizations and local units of government. Eligible projects include things such as public park improvements, public hiking or biking trails, beach restoration projects and more. Funded projects need to show how they’ll enhance the visitor experience and also improve the quality of life for residents. In 2023, nearly $2 million will be available through the Community Investment Fund. DDC has partnered with the Door County Community Foundation to administer the program and to work with applicants through the application process. More information about the program can be found at

Why does Destination Door County fund the Community Investment Fund (CIF) program?

Destination Door County saw an opportunity that was allowable under state statute for the organization to help provide enhanced support to the community in a meaningful way that reflects the organization’s community shared values. The Community Investment Fund is a result of Door County’s strong visitor economy, and is facilitated by the Door County Community Foundation. Using a portion of the room tax dollars paid by visitors, the Community Investment Fund offers grants to projects that benefit our visitors while they are here and improves the quality of life for those who live and work in Door County. Wisconsin state lodging tax statutes require that room tax dollars be used for specific purposes, so the grant program is structured in a way that ensures any funded projects will be significantly used by visitors and must likely lead to an increase in visitors staying overnight in paid accommodations in Door County.

Why did Destination Door County fund a special parks program in 2023 with the Tourism Reserve Fund?

Destination Door County recognizes that outdoor recreation is a major driver in visitation and also a key quality-of-life component for residents. An investment in Door County’s state, county, and local parks underscores the value to the destination’s long-term sustainability, it reflects a commitment to our visitors and our residents, and it echoes the importance of Destination Door County’s other Care for Door County initiatives. Door County’s natural environment, hospitality, and unique heritage has been attracting visitors for more than a century. As more people travel to experience this special place, the more important it becomes to reinvest back into the community.

As part of the decision making process, Destination Door County analyzed available GPS location data which reiterated the impact of area state, county and municipal parks which helped the organization make the decision to present the proposal to the Door County Tourism Zone Commission.
 This special one-time investment of $800,000 was made possible due to higher than anticipated room tax collections in 2022. Destination Door County is excited to be able to provide this special funding to enhance these important natural attractions and will work directly with municipalities and partner with local state park friends groups as well as the Friends of Door County Parks group to facilitate park enhancements and improvements.

Why do we need to continue to market Door County? Don’t we have enough visitors?

While Door County has been a popular travel destination for more than a century, visitors have many choices on where to spend their travel dollars and are being inundated with advertising from other travel destinations every day. If Door County doesn’t continue to stay in the consideration set, visitors are likely to be lured to another destination. The economic activity the visitor economy brings to Door County supports thousands of residents and their families, provides needed tax revenue to local governments and has helped create new economic opportunities for generations of entrepreneurs that have decided to stay, move, or move back to Door County. A vibrant visitor economy supports businesses that employ the residents who live here and are the backbone of the community.

Where can I find out who is on Destination Door County’s board of directors and who the professional staff members are?

You can find a list of Destination Door County’s current board of directors and a professional staff directory with contact information online at You can also find a plethora of additional information about Destination Door County at that link as well.

Where can I find out information about what Destination Door County does? is where you can find partnership information, community resources, marketing resources, data insight, Destination Door County’s 3-year strategic plan, monthly reports, organization board meeting agendas and minutes, the organization’s annual audit and more.

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