Tourism improves local quality of life

ESCANABA — Visit Escanaba is the destination marketing organization for Delta County. We work to attract new and returning visitors to the area by spending resources on ad campaigns that run outside of the region, and by supporting improvements to the community that make this a better place. Marketing Delta County benefits the hotels and short-term rental properties as well as retail businesses, restaurants, and others that see an influx of tourism customers.

While marketing the area to potential consumers from outside of Delta County can be beneficial to the local economy, destination marketing organizations like this should benefit local residents as well. That is why our mission is not only to stimulate the local economy, but to improve the quality of life for the people that live here.

One of the ways we can see this benefit to residents are the infrastructure projects that Visit Escanaba supports such as the vision plans for the beaches and parks in Gladstone and Escanaba. Visit Escanaba sponsored a planning process to enhance our area’s biggest assets, Van Cleve and Ludington parks, to attract future visitors but also to improve the quality of life for local residents. The reimagined parks will be highly accessible and activate these recreational areas for tourists and for the people that live here. They feature more walking paths, new elevated structures for looking out over the water, as well as bigger and better beaches. While the parks on the water are already incredibly beautiful, enhancing their splendor and accessibility will provide exponential value to everyone for many years to come.

The resources that sustain our organization are collected as assessments by hotels in the area that have 10 or more rooms. This is a benefit created under Michigan state law with oversight by the best state tourism brand marketers in the world, Pure Michigan. This means that most of the resources used for our services are provided by people that do not live here who are visiting the area. The resources that are used to help improve our beaches and parks for residents as well as market the area as a destination to stimulate local businesses are provided by tourists.

Long term projects and developments like the Van Cleve and Ludington parks vision plans can transform this community into a thriving area for future generations of residents to enjoy by bringing in more jobs, fun outdoor events, and new business opportunities to Delta County. Not to mention the fact that everyone can enjoy the outcomes at the parks because they are accessible to the public.

While Visit Escanaba is here to stimulate the economy and improve the quality of life for residents, it would not be possible without the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Pure Michigan who support our services. These organizations drive visitors to our area and generate more resources that Visit Escanaba and other local organizations use to improve the quality of life for people that live here. It is important that they are sufficiently backed in the state budget to continue the local developments that are underway and to support future projects.

Even though we know that more visitors coming to town means the businesses are healthier and the local economy is better, there is additional benefits to everyone that lives here. We all work together to keep growing and developing our area for the benefit of everyone that spends time in Delta County.

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Robert Micheau is executive director of Visit Escanaba


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