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Tourists Spent $17.2B In Michigan Last Year

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Credit: Rob Pietz

Credit: Rob Pietz

LANSING (WWJ) – Michigan’s tourism industry saw dramatic gains in 2010, generating an estimated 10,000 new jobs as out-of-state leisure visitor spending soared 21 percent, the first time 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.

“Michigan is becoming a national destination for visitors from across the nation, making tourism increasingly important as new visitors help our economy grow,” Governor Rick Snyder said in a statement. “We expanded our Pure Michigan branding efforts early in my administration because they successfully tell the important story of Michigan, attracting visitors and investments to our state.”

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 also 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,” George Zimmermann, Vice President for Travel Michigan, said in a release. “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 County and Leelanau County 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; a strong start for the 2011 summer travel season to build on.

“With the summer travel season upon us, we encourage every Michigan resident to enjoy Michigan – America’s perfect summer destination,” Zimmermann said in a release. “Our temperate summer climate, great cities, iconic events, breathtaking scenery and outstanding outdoor recreation truly offer the best summer vacation possible. We encourage Michiganders to invite their family and friends from around the country to join us this summer and experience Pure Michigan.”

Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, is the State of Michigan’s official agency for the promotion of tourism. Travel Michigan markets the state’s tourism industry and provides valuable visitor information services.

For Michigan travel news and updates, go to michigan.org.

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