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Analysts predict a boost to Michigan's tourism industry this year

A lighthouse, silhouetted against a pinkish horizon, overlooking Lake Michigan
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)
A lighthouse, silhouetted against a pinkish horizon, overlooking Lake Michigan

Michigan’s tourism industry is expected to see a boost in business this year.  Michigan State University tourism experts are predicting a 4% increase tourism spending this year, thanks in part to an expected increase in business travel. 

 MSU researcher Sarah Nicholls says Michigan's tourism industry will build on improving conditions seen last year.

“Though we may not be out of the woods completely just yet, most indications are that the industry held firm in 2010 and, given the continuing funding and success of the Pure Michigan campaign, is poised to experience continued growth over the coming years, barring unanticipated crises.”  

 The researchers warn Michigan’s tourism industry might be improving, .but it’s not headed back to the levels it enjoyed before the recession.  There is one potential dark cloud in the forecast.  

Gasoline prices may continue to rise amid turmoil in the Middle East.  But, MSU tourism analyst Dan McCole does not expect gas prices will rise so high as to deter tourism in Michigan. 

“Certainly some people will travel less because of gas prices, but those canceled plans could be offset by a boost in regional travel as families postpone trips that involve either increasingly expensive airline travel or long driving trips to destinations like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone” said in a news release from the university.  

The MSU tourism study was released today in Kalamazoo during the Pure Michigan Governor's Conference on Tourism. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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