EAST LANSING, Mich.—Researchers are expecting another strong year of tourism for Michigan.
In their annual report released Monday, two Michigan State University researchers said the improving economy, several national tourism trends and the success of the state's Pure Michigan advertising campaign will fuel an upswing. Dan McCole, assistant professor in MSU's Department of Community Sustainability, predicts tourism spending, as measured by hotel and motel tax receipts, will increase 4.5 percent this year.
Despite cooler temperatures and a drop in state national park visits last year, researchers say tourism spending jumped 4 percent in 2013. Hotels saw a 2 percent jump in occupancy. Lower gas prices and Grand Rapids claiming the title of Beer City USA helped bolster the boom.
"More tourists today are interested in sampling regional wineries and craft brews, eating at restaurants that serve foods made with locally produced ingredients, and visiting unique cultural and historical attractions." McCole said in a news release. "With every new magazine article that recognizes a Michigan destination, and with every Pure Michigan ad, more people realize they can get these kinds of experiences in Michigan."