Tourism is a growing economic sector in Michigan, with plenty of success to celebrate and more potential to pursue.
That's the bottom line from the Pure Michigan Governor's Conference on Tourism held in Grand Rapids (last) week.
Attendees received the data on 2011's advertising results, which were good. Last year's summer campaign lured 3.2 million out-of-state visitors who spent some $1 billion in the state, according to a study from Longwoods International. Those visitors also paid $70 million in Michigan taxes.
Not bad for a $14.2 million investment in out-of-state advertising; in fact, the study concluded that the state took in $4.90 for each $1 it spent on the campaign. Since its inception in 2006, the Pure Michigan campaign has brought in $3.70 per dollar spent.
This year's national cable TV campaign is running through June, with commercials on 25 cable channels. Ann Arbor, Mackinac Island, Traverse City and The Henry Ford Museum kicked in $2 million of the $12 million cost.
Also coming this year, Coca-Cola is partnering with the state in a co-branded campaign that will feature Coke's logo or its iconic bottle on billboards with images of Michigan's signature destinations such as Mackinac Island or Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The in-state campaign, developed by Coke, also includes radio and signage on vehicles. Such public and private partnerships can only help the state excel.
The Longwoods International study looked at attitudes about Michigan as a vacation destination and gave the state top marks for its appealing outdoor recreation options and its beautiful scenery. The state is less known for vibrant cities, cultural attractions or entertainment. That may point to topics for future promotions.
The state performs especially well compared to other states in the Great Lakes region, but draws more middle-of-the-pack responses from elsewhere in the nation. That's not a surprise. Indeed, the Pure Michigan campaign didn't have a national component until 2009, focusing instead on the region.
But between 2009 and 2010, total tourism spending was up 20 percent. Few things the state does produce such strong results for local communities and for the state's coffers. The governor's budget proposal for the 2013 fiscal year includes $25 million for Pure Michigan. It's a good investment.
Lansing State Journal