Pure Michigan funding is wise investment

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To the Editor,

While state residents have embraced the Pure Michigan campaign for effectively promoting the breath-taking beauty of our state, this campaign goes much further than picturesque scenes and making us feel good. Simply put, it generates literally millions of dollars and plays a critical role in the health of Michigan’s economy.

The state’s lodging and tourism industry applauds Governor Snyder for his long-standing support of Pure Michigan, which continues to provide a strong return on investment. In fact, for every dollar invested, the state receives an average of $5.76 in new tax revenues. Without a doubt, Pure Michigan has contributed to our state’s ongoing economic recovery.

Important to note is Pure Michigan’s real and significant impact. In 2012, the campaign attracted 3.8 million out-of-state visitors, who spent a record $1.1 billion at Michigan businesses, according to a report issued by industry researchers at Longwoods International. While the results are not yet compiled for 2013, Pure Michigan continues to receive recognition as having the most heavily visited website (michigan.org) and beating national average gains for lodging occupancy, average daily rate, revenue per available room and rooms sold.

The lodging and travel industry, too, continues to invest heavily in promoting Michigan destinations as well as marketing state businesses and promoting tourism. In addition to the state’s general fund investment in Pure Michigan, the industry makes considerable investments, including:

• An additional $45 million investment by Convention and Visitors Bureaus across Michigan to promote their destination’s attractions, hotels, restaurants, festivals and events; and

• A typical business will invest between six and 10 percent of sales for advertising and marketing. Visitors spent more than $18 billion in 2012 traveling in our state. Therefore, even if business invested only two percent of sales to marketing and ads that equates to more than $360 million.
Together, state, local and individual business owners work collaboratively to grow lodging and tourism, Michigan’s third largest industry. Their efforts generate new jobs, increase tax revenues and create new opportunities for Michigan residents.

The Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association applauds the governor’s recent proposal to invest $6 million to combat invasive species like Asian carp. We also support the governor’s proposed $2.5 million investment toward development of a trail system from southeast Michigan to the Wisconsin border to attract hikers and cyclists from around the country to spend time and money in our state. It’s vital that we invest in protecting and growing Michigan’s tourism opportunities.

Tourism is our state’s third largest industry. Our goal is to continue to build on the success of Pure Michigan. We will work diligently to increase state investment for Pure Michigan to $50 million over the next five years. This sound investment boosts tourism to our state and, most importantly, helps grow jobs, tax revenues and Michigan’s economic health.

Steve Yencich, CAE, President and CEO of the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association

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