In partnership with the Michigan Travel Commission (MTC) and the Highway Hospitality Committee (HHC), the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has launched a new statewide program that allows tourism groups across the state to “adopt” Welcome Centers in their community. This new program is designed to enhance operations and leverage the resources of all organizations involved.
“Similar to MDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program, this is a cost-effective way to provide enhanced services with a limited budget,” said MDOT Southwest Region Engineer and HHC Co-Chair Bobbi Welke.
The Marquette Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) is the first to take advantage of this new program, adopting the Marquette Welcome Center located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The Marquette CVB is reassigning staff during the peak summer travel months to the Welcome Center to better utilize staff at both agencies and offer coverage seven days a week. This is just one example of the kind of cost-effective activities adopting groups can do when adopting a Welcome Center.
This Adopt-A-Welcome Center program, developed by the HHC, is intended to provide tourism groups across Michigan with opportunities to provide high-quality experiences to visitors while simultaneously providing another channel for promotion of local tourism. Adoption activities could include providing bags for visitors to place brochures in, maintaining flower beds, providing local expertise, and supplementing the current Welcome Center staffing levels.
MTC Commissioner and HHC Co-Chair Jerry Preston added, “Our goal is to have visitors who are so pleased with their trip to Michigan that they become raving fans of the state and not only come back again, but tell their friends and acquaintances about their outstanding experience and encourage them to take their own trip to Michigan.”
There are 14 Welcome Centers located throughout Michigan, including Clare, Coldwater, Detroit, Dundee, Iron Mountain, Ironwood, Mackinaw City, Marquette, Menominee, Monroe, New Buffalo, Port Huron, Sault Ste. Marie, and St. Ignace.
The HHC is a joint committee comprised of MDOT staff, the Michigan Travel Commission, and various convention and visitor bureaus.
Groups interested in the new Adopt-A-Welcome Center program should contact their local Welcome Center facility about adoption opportunities. For contact information, visit: http://ref.michigan.org/mtr/welcomecenters/.