The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that Michigan’s tourism industry is expected to drop by 3-4 percent this year (this on top of last year’s 6.2% drop) due to the economic downturn in Michigan and the rest of the country.
“This year will be an even more challenging year for Michigan’s tourism industry because this state, which is typically the source of about 70 percent of our tourists, has slipped even further into recession, and the economies of the other states that we rely on for out-of-state visitors are far weaker than last year,” said Donald Holecek, a tourism analyst for MSU.
The $30 million nationwide Pure Michigan campaign is expected to help some:
“Without this campaign, it would be worse. That’s the bottom line,” said George Zimmermann (VP of Travel Michigan)
In his column Sense of urgency for tourism, Record-Eagle writer Bill O’Brien notes that many people in the travel industry are excited about the campaign, but he wonders if the remedy is targeted to the problem:
In some ways, Michigan’s tourism sector faces the same challenges as the automobile industry. Its mind-set of, “Just keep doing what we’ve done and the customers will show up,” kept auto executives, workers and union bosses employed for years, and quite well-paid.
But it wasn’t built to sustain that model. The rest of the world’s auto industry caught and passed Michigan’s stodgy carmakers with better products, prices and service. The world automobile industry became more competitive, but Michigan’s car companies were slow to respond and lost market share they may never recover.
Will Michigan’s tourism industry learn from those mistakes, or is it doomed to repeat them?
Good questions … hopefully we can find the right answers.