Bridge Magazine published an article this week that shows the scale and value of Michigan's tourism sector.
Contributor Jeff Alexander writes the sector accounts for $17.7 billion of Michigan's $300 billion-plus economy.
Citing state tourism data, Alexander writes since it's launch in 2006, the Pure Michigan campaign has helped attract out of state visitors by focusing on the states natural beauty and historic attractions.
The campaign has helped replace declining tourism from in-state travelers after the collapse of the state's blue collar workforce:
Long dominated by in-state travelers, Michigan’s tourism industry has fundamentally changed in recent years. Out-of-state travelers now account for the majority of leisure travel spending in Michigan, according to state data.
That shift occurred in 2010 and continued into 2011, according to the most recent data available. State data show that out-of-state visitors in 2011 spent more money on leisure travel in Michigan ($6.8 billion) than state residents did ($6.2 billion).
In 2011, over 3.2 million tourists visited Michigan from different parts of the nation bringing in $1 billion in revenue to the economy.
State tourism officials say they are expecting even more growth.
“We believe that our potential to get a bigger and bigger share of the national travel market, especially for summer travel, is enormous,” said George Zimmermann, vice president for Travel Michigan at the Michigan Economic Development Corp. “In some ways I feel like we’re just getting started.”
The top 3 attractions in the state, according to the piece, are:
- Frankenmuth/Bavarian Village
- Holland State Park
- And a three way tie for third between Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, The Henry Ford Museum, and Grand Haven State Park.
We want to know your favorite place to visit in Michigan. Drop them in the comments below.
- Marlon Philips, Michigan Radio Newsroom