Pure Michigan Campaign Closing In On a Decade of Luring Visitors to the State

The “Pure Michigan” campaign that began in 2006 saw a record return on investment last year, according to David West, Vice President of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

West was in Grand Rapids recently for the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism and spoke about where the campaign has been and where it’s going.

The nationally-recognized tourism campaign has won numerous accolades in the advertising and public relations world. In 2014, $12.4 million was spent on out-of-state advertising, which motivated a total of 4.1 million trips to Michigan. Visitors spent $1.2 billion at Michigan businesses, including $5.4 million in Michigan sales tax. Overall, Michigan hosted 113.4 million visitors in 2014, who collectively spent $22.8 billion.

“This is an all-time record high,” West said.

He said tourism directly supports 214,333 jobs in the state and that tourism employment growth actually outperformed general state employment growth by more than half a percent in 2014.

“Tourism is an employment generator in Michigan,” West said.

The tax revenue generated by travelers is also a welcome addition to the state’s coffers. West estimates that each household would have to pay $640 per year annually without the taxes paid by out-of-state travelers.

Other states are picking up on the campaign’s success. Hawaii, New York, and Florida have launched similar advertising efforts. West said while some of those states have bigger budgets to work with, Michigan still has unique attributes that can be “owned” when it comes to attracting visitors. He specifically mentioned the state’s craft beer industry, lake living and recreation, snowmobiling, and innovation and “coolness”.

“We have room to grow to tell our story,” West said.

There are also plans to expand the campaign’s already impressive web presence. With the world’s number one Instagram travel brand hashtag of #puremichigan and accolades from Travel & Leisure magazine of executing the “#1 use of social media among all tourism offices,” it would seem there’s no room to grow, but West said that’s not true. Plans are taking shape to grow and evolve the campaign’s social media presence and overall brand creative. There are also plans to revamp the campaign’s Michigan.org website, one of the most visited tourism websites in the United States.

“We are going to make it the best tourism website in the world,” he said.

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  1. Would like a map and places to see in MI. Will not be camping or fishing. Want places both cities and interesting places. Need it soon as we are making plans

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