Michigan has spent $67 million since 2006 to draw more tourists and tourist dollars to the Great Lakes State through the Pure Michigan campaign. Our friends at Bridge Magazine have taken a very interesting and in-depth look at Pure Michigan. The effort appears to be working, with industry officials & analysts pointing to an additional 2 million visitors who wouldn’t otherwise have visited according to the latest data from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Longwoods International.
These visitors have generated $605 million of additional revenue, and between 2009 and 2010, the tourism industry grew by $2 billion, enough to generate an additional 10,000 jobs in Michigan. The campaign also generated $43 million in state tax collections, creating a return on investment (ROI) of $4.32 for each dollar Michigan spent on tourism advertising. Resident leisure travel rose 6.1% to $6.3 billion, and non-resident leisure travel that Pure Michigan ads are targeting rose 21.1% to $6.4 billion, the first time non-resident spending has exceeded Michigan resident spending for leisure travel.
While the state and national economies and overall tourism spending floundered in 2009, Michigan received 2% of all the tourism spending in the United States, good for a rank of 14th nationally, a success many credit to the Pure Michigan advertising campaign. George Zimmermann, VP of Travel Michigan says:
“Most Americans know Florida, California and Hawaii. We are just the opposite. We’ve only done a national campaign for just three years, with a modest budget. Michigan also is starting from a negative image of the Rust Belt, the depressed auto industry and urban decay in Detroit. The image of the state is much more favorable after visitors have seen the Pure Michigan ads.”
We encourage you to read on at Bridge for some other thoughts on the campaign including some criticism from Michael LaFaive of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. They have a second feature that looks at how Pure Michigan stacks up against other state tourism promotion efforts.
One thing is clear, it’s important to agree upon the numbers, because if the ROI is that high, Michigan would be foolish not to continue funding Pure Michigan.