Tourism holding steady in Upper Peninsula

Some good economic news for the Upper Peninsula surfaced Monday in the form of a story published by The Daily Press, the Mining Journal’s sister newspaper located in Delta County’s Escanaba.

In a nutshell, the piece found that despite this summer’s rather unusual weather patterns – miserable cold on some days followed by miserable hot on others – tourism in the region, all things considered, is doing pretty well.

The story quoted Tom Nemacheck, who serves as executive director of the Upper Peninsula Travel and Recreation Association, which is located in Iron Mountain.

“The good thing is I haven’t heard any complaints, and if I don’t hear any complaints from people in the tourism industry that usually means things are OK,” he opined.

One statistic jumps out: According to the Mackinac Bridge Authority, 382,191 vehicles crossed the Mackinac Bridge during June – up from 380,202 in June of 2013.

In addition to the 0.5 percent increase in traffic for June, fare revenue is up 0.7 percent from last year.

“The bridge represents roughly half of the visitors that come to the Upper Peninsula. The other half of visitors come up from Wisconsin,” said Nemacheck for the story.

The vast majority of tourists that visit the U.P. come from areas like Lower Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota, and Ohio. Roughly 90 percent of all visitors to the U.P. come from locations within six or seven hours by car, according to the story.

The hope, of course, is the trends will continue and the summer tourist season in the U.P. will finish as strong as it started.

The Marquette area still has a good number of big ticket events in the hopper, including the Marquette Blueberry Festival (Friday); Art on the Rocks and OutBack Art Fair (this coming weekend); Harbor Fest (Aug. 22-23); the Marquette-Area Blues Fest (Aug. 29-31) and the U.P. Fall Beer Festival (Sept. 6).

Put another way, there is still plenty of time to have plenty of fun this summer. Hope to see you there!