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Travel Works for America Roadshow Stops in Detroit

Tour highlights value of travel to local, regional, and state economies

By Kathy Gibbons

Leaders and attendees gathered at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History for the first day of the two-day tour. || Courtesy of U.S. Travel

U.S. Travel recently brought its Travel Works for America roadshow to the Motor City.

The two-day Detroit event incorporated stops at local destinations and venues to emphasize what U.S. Travel describes as “the essential nature of travel in powering the U.S. economy, communities, and other industries like automotive and manufacturing.” The idea behind the Travel Works For America roadshow is to spotlight the economic value of travel to the economy and how travel powers nearly every industry and community across the nation.

Stacy Ziarko, president and CEO, Connect Macomb; Dennis W. Archer Jr., CEO of Ignition Media Group and president and founding partner of Archer Corporate Services; Andrew Leber, vide president of hospitality, Bedrock; and Michelle Street, general manager, Detroit Marriott Troy on stage at the opening event. || Courtesy of U.S. Travel

Federal, state, and local officials and travel leaders participated in a Travel Works for America opening anchor event at Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. They included U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Detroit Deputy Mayor Todd A. Bettison, Michigan House Speaker Joe Tate, U.S. Travel President and CEO Geoff Freeman, Visit Detroit President and CEO Claude Molinari, Travel Michigan Vice President Dave Lorenz, and other representatives of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, General Motors, Delta Air Lines, and Bedrock, among others.

According to Lorenz, Detroit was a natural fit for the tour, which is ongoing with future dates in other cities to be announced. “Michigan is the global epicenter of mobility innovation and is home to a broad range of high-tech talent, ranking in the top 10 nationally for engineering talent, semiconductor workforce, and STEM degree completions, among other key distinctions,” he says. “Michigan is also a national leader in creating accessible travel opportunities, from the planning process to experiencing the state’s vibrant cities and abundant natural resources.”

Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American history. || Courtesy of U.S. Travel

The Detroit Travel Works for America tour saw more than 100 attendees, Molinari says, noting that having the U.S. Travel president and senior team members participating “really sets the stage for how critical travel is to the region.” More than 16.5 million people visited Detroit in 2022, each spending about $557—a significant contribution to the local and regional economy that Molinari says doesn’t happen all on its own.

“In order to do this, we need to attract major events and we need to attract conventions, meetings, and also very important, leisure travel,” he says. “Certainly funding for Pure Michigan, which is the travel arm of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, is critically important.”

After the stop at the Wright museum, the group toured Huntington Place, where the 2023 North American International Auto Show was in the process of setting up, followed by dinner at Selden Standard.

“Then the next day at the Detroit riverfront, they saw that whole area and the amazing transformation our riverfront has taken on,” Molinari says. “Then we went to Dearborn to visit The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village,which was spectacular.”

The tour concluded with lunch at Dearborn Meat Market with its mix of Lebanese, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and barbecue menu items, and a tour that showcased some of the new AI features at the Delta terminal at Detroit Metro Airport.

Claude Molinari, president and CEO of Visit Detroit, speaks at the Travel Works for America roadshow in Detroit. || Courtesy of U.S. Travel

“It’s a great legitimizer of Detroit and southeast Michigan as a significant travel destination, that U.S. Travel would host one of their signature events here in Detroit,” Molinari says. “If we’re going to grow this state’s population, it starts with a visit. When somebody comes here, they visit the region, they think to themselves this might be a great place to live and start a business and that just builds on that. And in order to get people here, we have to reach out to them.”

Other 2023 Travel Works for America roadshows have been held in Washington, D.C., and Savannah, Georgia.