LANSING — Early data indicates 2012 is shaping up to be a strong year for Michigan’s tourism industry. According to Smith Travel Research, the statewide average hotel occupancy rate for the year to date as of July was at 56 percent — the highest July year to date average since Travel Michigan began tracking the data in 2004.
The statewide hotel occupancy rate in July was at 70.9 percent. This was above the national average of 70 percent and was the single highest occupancy month for Michigan since 2004.
This growth in occupancy comes on the heels of an extensive national survey of U.S. travel volumes and spending conducted by D.K. Shifflet & Associates showing visitor spending in Michigan in 2011 hit $17.7 billion — up a half a billion dollars from 2010.
“We are continuing to see increased hotel occupancy rates and record setting tourism spending here in the state, helping to support local businesses and nearly 200,000 jobs in communities across Michigan,” said George Zimmermann, vice president of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “It is especially encouraging to see that the vast majority of the $500 million increase in spending is coming from out-of-state visitors. We know that with our natural beauty, cultural attractions and unique experiences Michigan has what it takes to be a national tourism destination.”
The $500 million increase in tourism spending builds off the dramatic gains in Michigan’s tourism industry in 2010. Out-of-state visitors continued to outspend in-state travelers for the second year in a row.
The D.K. Shifflet survey found $13.1 billion was spent on travel for leisure and $4.6 billion was spent on business travel. Out-of-state leisure travelers spent $6.8 billion dollars in Michigan in 2011 — up 7.5 percent and $479 billion from 2010. In-state leisure spending held steady at $6.2 billion for 2011.
This visitor spending generated an estimated a $994.7 million in state tax revenue, up from $964.2 million in 2010.
“In 2012 we launched our largest national ad campaign to date, with Pure Michigan television commercials airing more than 5,000 times on national cable channels,” Zimmermann said. “We are seeing the results of four years of national ads in the form of increased visitors to Michigan, spending more money at businesses here in the state on those trips.”
Travel Michigan, part of the MEDC, markets the state’s tourism industry and provides valuable visitor information services. For Michigan travel news and updates, visit michigan.org.