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National Travel and Tourism Week Michigan-Style

Leaders visit destinations around the state

By Kathy Gibbons

Michigan travel industry leaders and partners gathered at the University of Michigan football stadium for a National Travel and Tourism Week kickoff event. CREDIT TICOM

Michigan tourism officials took their travel show on the road earlier this month, visiting destinations around the state and sharing the message that tourism is vital to the state’s economy in celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week.

The week kicked off with statewide travel and tourism industry leaders gathering in the Jack Roth Stadium Club at University of Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor for a statewide National Travel and Tourism Week press conference, followed by locker room and football field tours.

“It was awesome, we had such a good turnout,” says Chad W. Wiebesick, vice president of marketing and communications for Destination Ann Arbor and chairman of the board and president of the Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan (TICOM), which partnered with Pure Michigan and others to coordinate the week’s events. Besides speakers including Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, some 16 exhibitors representing destinations and other statewide travel associations were on hand. “It was nice for the industry and elected officials to learn how these groups are making an impact on the economy—moving Michigan’s economy forward.”

That evening, Lorenz was joined by Tom Dalton and Jim Edelman of Under the Radar Michigan in U-M Stadium, where they hosted a live interactive webcast—a scenario they repeated for four more nights in other locations that included Sault Ste. Marie, Charlevoix, South Haven, and Flint. During each one, they featured interviews and stories about Michigan destinations, designed to help viewers plan future getaways in the state. Pure Michigan also gathered special travel offers and packages and featured them on its website.

The National Travel and Tourism Week webcast in Charlevoix. CREDIT Visit Charlevoix

Wiebesick says state travel leaders and organizations have joined together to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week since its inception 40 years ago. This year was the first for the multicity tour format as well as the special travel offers.

“We’re very pleased with it,” he says. “We want to increase awareness with all of our constituents … on the impact that travel plays in all of our lives. It supports our businesses, it generates state and local tax revenue that provides for public services our residents rely on—things like K-12 education, public safety, public parks, libraries, road services. Ultimately the travel industry is not just an industry, it’s a force for good because it enriches our culture and quality of life.” All of the webcasts can be viewed here.