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Tourists spent nearly $330 million in Muskegon County in 2018

A new state report shows spending by tourists in Muskegon County grew by 4.5% in 2018.

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — Tourist spent 4.5% more in Muskegon County in 2018 compared to 2017. The new figures are included in a released by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Travel Michigan – the state’s tourism promotion and marketing arm.

According to MEDC visitor spending in Muskegon County rose to $327 million, up from $313 million in 2017.

The report conducted by Tourism Economics of Wayne, Penn., looks at visitor spending in the lodging, food and beverage, retail, recreation, and transportation sectors for each county in Michigan.

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According to the research, the Tourism and Hospitality industries in Muskegon County also provide 3,193 direct and 4,715 indirect jobs in the county, with $93.24 million in direct labor income and $149.55 million in indirect labor income. The employment number equates to 7.5% of total employment in Muskegon County.

“We have known for years that the Tourism and Hospitality industries in Muskegon County are growing, providing increasing revenues, jobs, and income for Muskegon County businesses and residents, and the state’s 2018 tourism impact numbers confirm that fact,” said Bob Lukens, CDME, Community Development Director for Muskegon County and Director of Visit Muskegon, the county’s convention and visitors bureau.

“We continue to witness growth throughout the county with new lodging properties, restaurants, retailers, breweries, and other projects underway or recently completed. As Muskegon County continues to grow as a visitor destination, we anticipate increasing year-round tourism with the development of the convention center and additional tourism-related businesses in the county.”

The State of Michigan saw 3.9% growth in visitor spending to $25.7 billion in 2018, up from $24.7 billion in 2017.

A top stop in Muskegon County for tourists is the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, home of the state's only luge track.

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The park located at Muskegon State Park not only has a winter luge track made from ice, but a track for wheeled luge which can be done in warmer temperatures. 

Soon the park will add a duel zipline to attract a new wave of thrill-seekers and visitors to Muskegon County.

"Construction will begin next week," Jim Rudicil, Muskegon Winter Sports Complex Executive Director.

Construction cost are around $200,000 paid for with local donations and matching grant money from the State of Michigan.

When completed two participants will race side-by-side down the duel 1,400 feet mega-zipline which will begin at the top of a dune. 

Credit: 13 On Your Side

It's an attraction that will continue the park's effort to transform into a year-round destination.

Rudicil says attractions in Muskegon County like the one he manages are making great strides to become premier destination for travelers.

"I think collectively when you look at the scope of the entire county there's something for everybody," he said.

The new zipline may be ready for test runs before the end of 2019. 

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