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michigan tourism

school buses
Juhamanninen / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

A 2006 state law says Michigan public schools must start after Labor Day. But this year, a record number of school districts received waivers to start before the holiday -- and tourism officials in the state aren't happy.

Courtesty artist Sheefy McFly

Michigan has gotten plenty of mileage out of Tim Allen's voice spreading the word about Pure Michigan as a travel destination.

Now, the talents of a Detroit artist will lure Chicagoans to come visit Michigan's big cities.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

AAA predicts more than a million Michiganders will be on the roads this holiday weekend, and paying a lot more at the pump.

Gasbuddy.com pegs the statewide average price for a gallon of gasoline at about $3.15.  That’s more than a half dollar more than last Memorial Day weekend.

Don Holecek is a professor emeritus at Michigan State University.  He’s studied tourism trends for four decades.

Michigan ad
Michigan History Center

If you recognize the lyric, "Yes Michigan! The feeling’s forever," you’re probably not alone (and no longer in your 20s). The words stem from the “Yes Michigan” tourism ad campaign from the 1980s.

jimflix! / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

With the weather warming up and the sun chasing away memories of the long stretch of cold, icy weather that lasted well into April, many Michigan communities are ramping up for tourist season.

That season is the economic lifeblood of many areas in Michigan, like Ludington, for instance.

Boat on Northport Bay, Lake Michigan
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

A fight is brewing at the state Capitol over whether the Legislature should preempt local rules on expensive rental properties.

Local governments and neighbors say short-term vacation rentals are changing the character of neighborhoods. The battle is getting particularly fierce in Great Lakes shoreline communities where rental properties can go for thousands of dollars a week.

Lucy Welch lives in Spring Lake on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She says neighbors recently started renting out their home to vacationers.

all terrain vehicle driving on dirt road
ATVist / CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

Many Michiganders are about to head up north for a long holiday weekend. When they arrive, some travelers will use public land for hiking, biking, horseback riding and driving off-road vehicles or ORVs. Fans of ORVs will soon have a lot more options. Thousands of miles of state forest roads are about to open up to them in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula.

Morning theft on Flickr / Creative Commons

A new program from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will allow campers to bring their dogs and cats to some Michigan state parks. The pilot project will launch on November 1st and last for one year.

DNR resource specialist Maia Turek says lots of people like to vacation with their pets.

Vince Pahkala / Wikimedia Commons

Planning your next winter excursion in Michigan could get harder this year. 

Unusually warm temperatures throughout the state, including record highs in certain areas over the weekend, have led tourism experts and representatives to question whether enough snow will stay on the ground to support outdoor activities. 

Courtesy of Felicia Fairchild

 

Today, the town of Saugatuck on Michigan’s western coast is a popular destination for tourists around the world. But it wasn’t always that way. When Felicia Fairchild took over as the director of the Saugatuck-Douglas Convention and Visitors Bureau 27 years ago, Saugatuck was just one of many small communities competing to attract visitors to its little strip of Lake Michigan. Now, with Saugatuck securely on the map, Fairchild looks back at her career.

via michigan.org

The “Pure Michigan” tourism campaign is a net money-loser for the state.

At least that’s what researchers at the free-market Mackinac Center for Public Policy conclude in a new report.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Michigan's ban on straight-ticket voting keeps moving up the judicial ladder.

In the latest edition of The Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou look at the state's latest move to reinstate the ban and whether voters will have the option in November.

The number of fishing licenses purchased in 2016 was up from a year ago, according to Travel Michigan
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Kids across Michigan got packed off to school today, which marks the end of the summer tourism season.

As we start to say goodbye to summer, we wondered how Michigan's travel industry fared this year.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The summer tourism season is winding down, but there is concern in the industry that it may not be as profitable as it could have been.

Deanna Richeson is the CEO of the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association. She says Michigan’s summer tourism season was strong overall.

But she’s concerned that a growing number school districts are starting classes in August. 

“When we have our school children returning to school prior to Labor Day that will cut into those revenues enjoyed by the tourism industry,” says Richeson.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University researchers are predicting a good year ahead for the state’s tourism industry.

MSU’s Sarah Nicholls predicts a 3% increase in tourist traffic, and a 5% increase in spending.

Nicholls says Michigan tourism has rebounded well from the Great Recession, with year-over-year tourism spending up between 2-3% each year over a 4-5 year period.  

“Back in 2009, hotel occupancy across the state was around 48%. We’re now back up to 60%,” says Nicholls.

The Michigan Ice Fest is expecting 700 attendees this year, 40% more than the festival saw last year
Aaron Peterson/Clear & Cold Cinema

Last week it was 50 degrees in many parts of the state. This week it’s freezing. But in the Upper Peninsula, freezing is a good thing for certain adventurous souls.

The sandstone cliffs in Munising, Michigan rise 200 feet above Lake Superior, and during the winter the area attracts ice climbers.

Buckets and sandcastles on the beach
Jerry / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A state Senate bill that would allow schools to start before Labor Day is drawing concern from Michigan's tourism industry.

Michigan schools are currently required to wait until after the holiday to start.

That's thanks to a 2006 law meant to help boost the state's tourism industry.

Steve Yencich is president and CEO of the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association.

Steven Depolo | Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We asked you on Facebook. We went outside the studio (*gasp*) and asked people in the street. You tweeted us on Twitter. You told us 70 experiences every Michigander should have at least once. 

These are in no particular order...except to note Sleeping Bear Dunes was, hands down, the most popular response.

Sleeping Bear Dunes, a popular tourist spot in Northern Michigan
Flickr user Rodney Campbell / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Northern Michigan’s tourism industry is huge. Likely this summer alone you or someone you know has headed up that way at least once.

At first blush, that sounds as though all that tourism is nothing but great for the economy. It creates a lot of jobs at businesses like restaurants and hotels.

The "Pure Michigan" campaign highlights beautiful and memorable places and experiences in Michigan.
user PunkToad / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

State lawmakers are searching for money to fix the roads, and they’ve been eyeing the budget of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and its “Pure Michigan” campaign.

The MEDC’s funding was reduced by $15 million with the recently passed budget.

Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce / Courtesy photo

Muskegon is marking the unofficial start of summer with a rebranding campaign. Leaders in Muskegon are trying to improve the lakeshore community’s not-so-great image.

“It’s changed a lot, I would say, in the last 15 years,” said Cindy Larsen, president of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce.

Courtesy of Laurentide Winery

The Next Idea

When was the last time you drank a bottle of Michigan wine? If it’s difficult to remember, you are sadly not alone.

Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Michigan suffered $400,000 in damages.
Dan Perry / Flickr

GAYLORD, Mich. - Two of three University of Michigan students charged after their fraternity was blamed for widespread vandalism at a ski resort during a wild weekend party in January have waived their initial court hearing.

Sigma Alpha Mu chapter president Joshua Kaplan and Zachary Levin face misdemeanor charges of allowing drug and alcohol use by minors. 

www.greatlakescruising.com

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) - As hard as it may be to imagine the nearly ice-covered Great Lakes as a Caribbean-like cruise ship destination, that's just what they'll be when summer comes to the world's largest fresh water system. 

Great Lakes Cruise Co. says it will begin offering itineraries between Montreal and Chicago in July on the M.S. Saint Laurent. The company's website describes the ship as a "4-star, intimate and charming ocean-going coastal vessel."

Archimedo / Wikimedia commons

With snowfall in much of Michigan in November, ski areas got an early start to the season.

“When it’s cold and snowy people go into the retail stores and buy things. So the retail sales were up early this year and our ski areas were able to open early. So yes it was a real, real good start,” said Mickey MacWilliams, executive director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association.

She says there are a little more than 100 days, on average, that Michigan ski areas are open each winter. 

Michigan ski areas have been investing to make improvements on the slopes.

When you think "Michigan," you think tourism, right? Or, for some, maybe it's Tim Allen telling you about the state's open roads, fall colors, glistening lakes. Tourism means big business for the mitten. We look at how the changing climate might impact what more than 4.4 million out-of-state visitors will be able to do and enjoy when they come to the Great Lakes State. 

 Then, we spoke with Michigan author Laura Kasischke about her latest novel, Mind of Winter. And Daniel Howes joined us for our weekly check-in, to discuss Mary Barra and the ghost of GM's past. Also, women are underrepresented in the  STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, but there is one University of Michigan student group trying to change that. And, we are one week into spring but still getting snow. Meterologist Jim Maczko spoke with us about when we can expect warmer weather.  First on the show, we are closing in on the deadline to purchase health insurance or face a penalty under the Affordable Care Act. 

Erin Knott is the Michigan Director of Enroll America, a non-profit, non-partisan group trying to get people enrolled in health insurance.

Erin joined us today to discuss the upcoming deadline. 

Pure Michigan / YouTube

When you think "Michigan," you have to think tourism. It's big business for the Mitten.

The now-famous "Pure Michigan" commercials are airing on network TV for the first time.

Pure Michigan advertising attracted more than four million out-of-state visitors last year. But how will our warming climate impact what those visitors might be able to do and enjoy when they come to Michigan?

Sarah Nicholls is an associate professor of tourism at Michigan State University, and Jim MacInnes is President and CEO of Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville. They joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

michigan.org

The Pure Michigan advertising campaign helped fill state tax coffers again last year.

Michigan has invested heavily in an effort to boost tourism in recent years. And the commercials, which are voiced by actor Tim Allen, and often feature scenic shots of lake vistas or Detroit nightlife, are getting through to people.

Michelle Grinnell is the public relations manager for Pure Michigan. She says the Pure Michigan brand connects with people.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

2014 may be a ‘robust’ year for Michigan’s tourism industry.

Stock markets and consumer confidence are high, housing markets are improving and unemployment is down. Michigan State University researchers say these are all factors that play a role in determining if people will take a vacation.

The MSU researchers presented their annual tourism forecast at an industry conference in Traverse City this morning.

They’re predicting a 4.5% increase in hotel receipts this year compared with 2013, which was a strong year for Michigan tourism.

Andrew McFarlane / Creative Commons

The waterfront in Traverse City used to be an industrial area. Now it's open space with parks, beaches and bike trails.

With that comes festivals, and some city residents say there are too many. They complain of "festival fatigue." City leaders voted last night to lower the number of festivals allowed in the open space area from six to four.

More from the Traverse City Record-Eagle:

Commissioners said the new limitation would address resident concerns about the number of large events at the Open Space in a reasonable manner. Commissioners split on the question, reflecting the temperament of city residents who offered varying opinions on the need for more festivals.

“We are limiting one event at one park,” Commissioner Jeanine Easterday said before running through a long list of festivals and events that remain. “We are not eliminating events for Traverse City.”

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