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Travel and Tourism Week Takes Spotlight in Michigan

Detroit event highlights role of industry in economy and quality of life

By Kathy Gibbons

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II || Photo courtesy of Pure Michigan

State government, tourism, and hospitality industry leaders gathered at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park May 20 to kick off Michigan’s celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week. Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II headlined a press conference heralding the week, which is designed to showcase the impact of tourism on Michigan’s economy and its role in supporting communities, creating jobs, generating tax revenue, and enhancing qualify of life for those who live in the state.

“As a $2.6 trillion industry, travel supports nearly 15 million American jobs, with over 60% of leisure and hospitality employment accounted for by small businesses,” says Chad Wiebesick, director of public affairs for Destination Ann Arbor and immediate past president of the Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan (TICOM), one of the partners in the event. Other partners included Visit Detroit, Travel Michigan, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Michigan Cares for Tourism. “National Travel and Tourism Week is being celebrated across hundreds of U.S. communities during the week of May 19-25, 2024.”

In Michigan, visitor spending is calculated at $27.3 billion annually, including $10.5 billion in metro Detroit. The industry supports more than 324,000 jobs in the state and generates $3.2 billion in state and local taxes annually.

“Travel and tourism are crucial to Michigan’s economy and quality of life for residents,” Wiebesick says. The National Travel and Tourism Week event at Belle Isle also highlighted the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan campaign, which influenced 1.5 million trips last year. This generated $2.5 billion in visitor spending and produced $156 million in state taxes.

Besides presenting speakers, the Michigan National Travel and Tourism Week event incorporated many volunteer opportunities including Michigan Cares for Tourism spearheading a cleanup at the park and a few projects involving students from Detroit Public Schools. Other features included museum and shuttle tours and a TICOM membership meeting.

Similar gatherings have been held across the United States this week in observance of National Travel and Tourism Week.