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The economic impact of summer tourism

Amy Clickner, CEO, Lake Superior Community Partnership

As you know, the Lake Superior Community Partnership works in economic development. But what folks often don’t realize is that tourism is an important component of economic development and contributes to the success of our region.

In the summer months in particular, do you think about the many visitors you encounter when you are out and about? Ever notice the full parking lots of our hotels? How about the many events that are hosted in Marquette County that draw people from all over to participate? What about Northern Michigan University alumni and parents of students who attend homecoming, parents weekend and graduations? And we certainly can’t forget the business travelers.

Well, I think you get the picture.

On a statewide level, the Pure Michigan campaign has been extremely successful for many years. In 2018, the campaign influenced about 2.1 million trips resulting in $153 million in state tax revenue and a return of $9.28 in tax revenue per $1 invested, which was an increase over the $8.99 in 2017.

Breaking that down to the Marquette County region, in 2017 visitors spent over $199 million, a growth rate of 5.6%. Interestingly enough, that is the same rate that Grand Traverse County grew. Nearly $23 million of that went to state and local taxes that provide services such as police, fire, parks, etc.

Obviously, many of our friends and neighbors work in the tourism industry, 2,782 direct jobs to be exact. This equates to a payroll number of approximately $64 million! We have also seen multi-millions of dollars in investments made by business owners in this industry over the last few years.

Again, think about the many places that visitors patronize. For example, hotels, the airport, restaurants, gas stations, recreational activities, events, retail shops and other service providers. All items that are taxed and contributing to the local and state government.

Locally, Travel Marquette does an amazing job marketing the region. They can also help you plan your event, meeting or wedding. Have you checked out their website travelmarquettemichigan.com? There is an amazing amount of information on this site that even breaks down to:

¯ Things to do

¯ Places to stay

¯ Outdoor adventure

¯ Climbing

¯ Fishing

¯ Events

¯ Trail conditions

They also distribute a Visitor’s Guide you can find in various locations throughout Marquette County including the LSCP office! Download the guide online and share with folks visiting you or your company.

Of course we all know what a great place Marquette County is to visit, however, connecting the dots between tourism and economic development may not be as well-known. Like I have always said, economic development touches everyone.

If you’re interested in learning how to invest in economic development and the LSCP, contact Kennan Marana at kmarana@marquette.org or 906-226-6591 ext. 105.

Editor’s NOTE: Amy Clickner is CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership. Her twice-monthly column will address topics of interest to the local business community.