Created by the Michigan Travel Commission in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, The Governor’s Awards for Innovative Tourism Collaboration elevate the status of Michigan’s tourism industry and promote innovative collaboration as an effective, efficient and creative operating principle for the industry. In April, at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Detroit, Dave Lorenz of Travel Michigan, representing the Michigan Travel Commission, and Julie Pingston, representing the Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan (TICOM), presented the 2017 awards. The inaugural awards were presented at the 2009 annual Tourism Conference.
Experience Development & Presentation Award
Paddle for Pints, a Brewery Pub Paddle on Traverse City's Boardman Lake & River and the West Bay, received the award for Experience Development & Presentation. During the event, 100 participants meet at the Filling Station Microbrewery and experience a guided tour Traverse City, visiting six breweries along the way. Beginning in 2013 with two event dates of 60 people each, Paddle for Pints has become one of Traverse City's biggest summer events. Last year, the event consisted of 27 event dates totaling 4,800 participants which sold out in 47 minutes when the dates were announced. 2017 boasted another sellout year.
Non-Traditional Partnerships Award
For the category of Non-Traditional Partnerships, Up North Trails Collaborative received an award as a collaboration of: Top of Michigan Trails Council, Northeast Michigan Council of Governments, Networks Northwest Land Information Access Association, Traverse Area Recreational and Transportation Trails, Inc., Cheboygan County, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, Flight Path Creative, and 21 County Representatives.
The Up North Trails Collaborative unites regional stakeholders to support and enhance economic development opportunities by developing a comprehensive trail marketing initiative in northern lower Michigan. The common goal is to promote all the trail systems in a 21-county area to create further opportunities for trail enthusiasts. A total of 5,358 miles of trail were identified and mapped and the data featured on www.upnorthtrails.org. Five pilot communities were chosen to undergo a Trail Town planning process to capitalize on the benefit of trail tourism. The process included consistently branded trailhead kiosk signs, trail guides, trailblazer signs and community gateway signs.
Marketing Partnership Award
In 2015, a collaboration of individuals, communities, organizations, agencies and businesses contributed over 4,000 volunteer hours for a tourism marketing project called Lake Huron Discovery Tour. The tour won an award in the Marketing Partnership category. The tour is a collaboration of Michigan Arts & Culture Northeast, Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan, Northeast Michigan Council of Governments/US 23 Heritage Route, Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Mitten Women Productions.
Consisting of a four-day event weekend focused along the US23 Heritage Route and the shoreline of Lake Huron in northeast Michigan, the self-guided tour included a collection of natural and cultural attractions and over 100 special events for the weekend. This uniform marketing approach promoted the broad area as a regional destination, selling out hotels and allowing visitors to discover new experiences along coastal Lake Huron.