Researchers see more growth in Michigan tourism

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 11, 2014 at 9:01 am •  Published: March 11, 2014
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan's tourism industry should continue to grow this year as the economy improves and the state increases its advertising overseas, a Michigan State University report said Monday.

Tourism spending rose 4 percent in 2013 and will increase another 4.5 percent in 2014, according to the school's report. Researchers cite the improving economy, national tourism trends and the state's Pure Michigan advertising campaign as factors contributing to last year's uptick.

Dan McCole, an assistant professor in MSU's community sustainability department, said rising consumer confidence and stock markets suggest "Michigan tourism will experience another strong year" in 2014.

"The recession has made people be less wasteful in their spending," McCole said in an interview. "One of the trends we see is people are much more likely to spend money on experiences rather than stuff now, so that's good for the tourism industry."

McCole and Sarah Nicholls, an associate professor in MSU's geography and community sustainability departments, had previously projected a 5.5 percent growth rate for 2013 after the state's 6 percent increase in 2012.

Michigan's reputation as a travel destination continues to grow, Nicholls said, and almost $4 million of Pure Michigan's $29 million budget this fiscal year is funding advertisements in Canada, Germany, China and the United Kingdom.