Things to know and do for Michigan’s tourism industry

Tourism resource document crafted by MSU faculty members provides tourism resources for Michigan communities.

As a part of the implementation of the 2012-2017 Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan (MTSP), the tourism industry is eager to help Michigan’s niche activities and attractions learn more about how they can get involved with industry efforts and more effectively market themselves. We have therefore prepared this listing of things you should know and can do to become a more active member of the Pure Michigan effort. Most of the items are relatively quick and easy to complete, and many of them are free!

  • Be social! Maximize your online/social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.). Learn more about social media strategies and keep up-to-date with trends via Travel Michigan’s Social Media Learning Library.
  • Attend the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism each spring. The conference rotates annually between locations around Michigan. This year it will be held in Detroit whereas Lansing hosted in 2016 and Grand Rapids in 2015.
  • Join and make use of the marketing expertise of your local Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) or Chamber of Commerce (CoC):
    • List of Michigan CVBs
    • List of Michigan CoCs:
    • Join the MI Tourism Collaboration, Cooperation and Partnerships Toolbox and/or the Michigan Forum on International Tourism (these are LinkedIn groups formed to support the industry as a result of the MTSP – search for the group name on LinkedIn and submit a request to join or contact Sarah Nicholls for an invite).

Consider developing a marketing plan for your site or entire niche. Use the marketing plan template attached, or, if you would like to see the Michigan Bicycle Tourism Marketing Plan and/or learn how to have the process facilitated for you, contact Sarah Nicholls.

To learn more about Michigan’s tourism industry, or to educate community members and government officials in your area, consider hosting a speaker at your next informal gathering, annual conference, county commission/township board meeting, or any other event. Why Tourism Matters talks can be customized to range in length from quick 10-minute overviews to half-day in-depth workshops (contact Sarah Nicholls for more information.

Michigan State University Extension’s tourism team also provides specific services to Michigan communities seeking to define and/or enhance their tourism industry. Programs are available that help map assets, build synergies, and leverage resources for tourism development which lead to an “authentic “experience for visitors. Two programs are in circulation now by tourism educators around Michigan: Understanding Tourism for Michigan Communities and First Impressions: Assessing your community for tourism (FIT). The former program looks at trends, statistics, and niche tourism industries common to Michigan where synergies can be built across participants. FIT looks at a host community through the eyes of first time visitors to your community. Additional tourism programs by Extension faculty are available by visiting the tourism website.

This report was prepared by Dr. Sarah Nicholls, Michigan State University, June 2016. Modifications were made to the report in partnership with Dr. Nicholls and MSU Extension tourism team lead and educator, Andy Northrop. For information regarding Extension community programs please Andy Northrop,

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