Michigan’s tourism industry saw dramatic gains in 2010, generating an estimated 10,000 new jobs.

Officials of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. said their studies show out-of-state leisure visitor spending soared 21 percent, making 2010 the first time ever that non-resident visitors outspent in-state travelers.

An extensive national survey of U.S. travel volumes and spending conducted by D.K. Shifflet & Associates showed visitor spending in Michigan jumped from $15.1 billion in 2009 to $17.2 billion in 2010 — the biggest one-year increase in travel spending in Michigan history.

The survey found $12.6 billion was spent on travel for leisure and $4.6 billion was spent on business travel. The growth in visitor spending generated an estimated 13.4 percent increase in state tax revenue — $964 million in 2010, up from $849 million in 2009. The survey found 152,600 jobs were generated by Michigan’s tourism industry in 2010 — up 10,000 from the year before.

While leisure spending from out-of-state visitors saw double-digit growth for the first time, leisure travel spending by Michigan residents grew 6 percent in 2010. Out-of-state business travel spending grew 9 percent during the same period. Overall, out-of-state visitor spending, including leisure and business travel, climbed 30 percent.

“In order to meet our goal of attracting more out-of-state visitors and their vacation dollars here to Michigan, we target the vast majority of our Pure Michigan advertising in other states, including our national cable television advertising buy and regional buys in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin,” said George Zimmermann, vice president for Travel Michigan, part of the MEDC. “With the 2010 travel numbers now out, we are pleased to see this strategy is working to grow our non-resident tourism base here in Michigan.”

Kurt Metzger of Data Driven Detroit reported last week that tourism-heavy counties in Michigan, such as Grand Traverse and Leelanau, saw some of the state’s best population gains in the 2010 U.S. Census — evidence that the tourism industry continues to be an economic driver in Michigan.

Recent data indicates the positive results for Michigan tourism in 2010 have continued to carry over into 2011. According to Smith Travel Research, Michigan hotel occupancy through April, 2011 is up 9.6 percent over the same period in 2010. That’s a strong start for the 2011 summer travel season to build on.

More at www.michigan.org.


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