Michigan’s tourism industry continues to grow

New spending and employment figures revealed at recent Governor’s Conference.

New figures announced at the 2015 Governor’s Conference on Tourism last month reveal the size and extent of Michigan’s growing tourism industry. According to research commissioned by Travel Michigan and conducted by Tourism Economics (2015), the number of visitors to Michigan grew by 3.8 percent in 2014, reaching a record high of 113.4 million visitors. Those visitors spent $22.8 billion on lodging, food and beverage, recreation and entertainment, and transportation throughout the state, generating nearly $2.4 billion in state/local and $2.5 billion in federal tax revenue and accounting for more than 214,000 Michigan jobs. If the tourism industry did not exist in Michigan, the cost to each household would be in the order of $640 per year.

While the majority of visitors (58 percent) were on day trips, the 42 percent of overnight visitors are especially lucrative, accounting for 80 percent of spending and with an average spend of $385 per stay. These figures are reflected in the 2012-2017 Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan (MTSP), the vision of which is that Michigan be recognized as one of America’s favorite four seasons travel experiences. More specific goals and objectives include the attraction of more out-of-state and international visitors via strengthening of the Pure Michigan brand, improvement of Michigan’s tourism product and associated infrastructure, consistent delivery of a superior customer service experience, and stewardship of our natural, cultural and other tourism resources.

Other new figures announced at the conference reveal the continuing success of the Pure Michigan campaign (Longwoods International, 2014, 2015). National awareness of the campaign rose from 39 percent in 2013 to 44 percent in 2014, while the return on the investment in the out-of-state elements of the campaign reached $6.87. This latter figure clearly demonstrates the value of national Pure Michigan advertising in terms of generating new income for the state.

For more information about the 2012-2017 Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan, please contact Michigan State University faculty member Dr. Sarah Nicholls at nicho210@msu.edu. Additionally, Michigan State University Extension has experts in tourism working throughout Michigan that can assist communities and counties with tourism development.

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