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Pure Michigan drives growth

ESCANABA — Visit Escanaba is the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) for Delta County and supports marketing efforts to attract visitors and residents to our region. Our organization’s mission is to enhance and enrich the economy and community in Delta County while pursuing initiatives that sustain the area’s heritage, character and quality of life.

One of the biggest assets to our organization and all tourism-based companies in Michigan is the Pure Michigan campaign that is managed by Travel Michigan, a part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Every day we work with local partners that tell us how the Pure Michigan campaign has helped their small business grow through the increased tourism traffic that Delta County receives.

Pure Michigan has an incredible track record of increasing Michigan’s tourism economy. A 2018 study released by SMARInsights found that 5.6 million person-trips were made to Michigan from outside the state as a result of exposure to the Pure Michigan campaign. These visitors spent $2.1 billion across Michigan.

The cost of Pure Michigan is more than paid for by the inflow of tourism. The 2018 SMARInsights found the return on investment (ROI) for the Pure Michigan campaign was over $8 for every dollar spent. Additionally, the Pure Michigan campaign supported $147 million in state tax revenues.

The Hannahville Indian Community sees the benefits of Pure Michigan to our area. Their annual commitment to the campaign of $500,000 supports Pure Michigan marketing efforts that highlight the Upper Peninsula.

Michigan is a four-seasons state and tourism is one of our top-three economic industry’s. This industry is driven by family-owned and operated businesses like the ones in Delta County that see a huge impact from tourism every year. Pure Michigan is a vital tool that supports this industry and small businesses that operate regional attractions, hotels, eateries and a host of other tourism-based businesses.

These reasons are why it is unfortunate to see the campaign get caught up in the process of passing an annual budget for the state. I encourage our legislators and the governor to work on a solution that fully funds Pure Michigan and the core economic development programs of the MEDC because our area needs these services now more than ever.

Delta County is seeing development and growth. New businesses and talent are being attracted to this area but there is still a lot of work to be done. Having the support of effective organizations at the state level will help our region take the next step in our journey of economic growth.

If you have personal experiences about the impact of this campaign, please consider reaching out to your legislators and the governor with your stories of how the marketing done by Pure Michigan has helped you and your business. Encourage them to restore funding to this critical Delta County economic driver so we can continue the work of changing this community. We cannot afford to have these services disrupted.

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Robert Micheau is executive director of Visit Escanaba

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