The Economy and U.P. Tourism, Part 2

Michigan’s official tourism website is the #1 resource in the state related to tourism 2 years running.

It’ll likely be 3 in a row after 2009.

Michigan’s tourism promotion budget is $30 million, a big hike from $6 million in 2005.

While it’s still not Memorial Day weekend yet — the traditional kickoff to the summer travel season — the U.P. is already seeing some results.

UGN’s Mike Stark has more about them in Part 2 of his series, ‘The Economy and U.P. Tourism’.

Travel Michigan is spending $10 million on a national cable TV ad campaign that began in April and runs through June.

The Pure Michigan commercials are seen on 15 different cable channels, and before they’re done, they’ll air more than 5,000 times.

The increased national exposure has led to a record high in hits on the state’s tourism website.

And that means good news for the U.P.

Bill Duckwall of Uncle Ducky Outfitters in Marquette plans guided canoe and kayak trips.

He says his business is seeing record-high interest levels on the Internet from people planning to visit the U.P. from out of state.

And he says the Pure Michigan ad campaign is largely responsible for that.

The U.S. Travel Association says Americans are expected to take 322 million domestic leisure trips this summer.

That’s only off 2% from last year.

The same survey revealed that 80% of travelers intend to spend about the same time away, or even more, than in 2008.

Tom Wahlstrom of Elizabeth’s Chop House in Marquette is hoping that’ll hold up.

He says the more visitors the U.P. has, the more people are likely to come into restaurants like his.

Duckwall and Traci Prunick of Munising’s Pictured Rocks Golf Course both say they derive much, if not all, of their business from people visiting the U.P.

One reason the tourism numbers could hold — fuel prices.

Instead of eclipsing the $4 mark, like they did a year ago, the price for a gallon is expected to stay closer to $2.

Tomorrow, Mike will discover more reasons why travelers may still choose to spend their money and time in the U.P. this summer.