Politics & Government
1:50 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Will Michigan be the new travel destination for Asians?

Gov. Rick Snyder is making his way to Asia on Wednesday, in an attempt to sell China and Japan on all things “Pure Michigan.”

This will be Snyder’s third trip to eastern Asia as governor. This time around, the governor is not only attempting to build business relationships with China and Japan, but also trying to pitch the Great Lakes State as a new American destination for Asian tourists.

Expanding the “Pure Michigan” campaign to international tourists is a relatively new endeavor for the state. Just this February, the state allocated an additional $4 million to the program for the sole purpose of bringing in foreign travelers.

And perhaps with good reason. In 2012, Chinese tourists beat out their American and German counterparts as the world’s top international tourist spenders. In just that year, Chinese sightseers spent $104 billion on global travel.

But will Michigan ever bypass popular U.S. travel destinations, like Times Square or San Francisco?

Maybe not, said George Zimmermann, the director of Travel Michigan. But even if Michigan doesn’t top the dream vacation list, the state can tap into a growing influx of Asian students and workers.

From MLive’s Melissa Anders:

“Chinese and other foreign travelers aren't as likely to visit Michigan during their first trip to the U.S., but they may consider it for later visits, Zimmermann said. And Michigan already attracts Chinese business travelers and students. The key is getting them to stay longer.”

- Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom