What’s the next big Michigan tourism idea? Whatever it is will earn a $5,000 prize at the upcoming Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism, where the State’s tourism movers and shakers will celebrate a fantastic year and plan for the future.
The conference – this year in Detroit but next year right here in Traverse City – is considered a must-attend annual event for those involved in Michigan’s second largest industry.
This year’s meeting is April 14-16 at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.
“It is the single big gathering of the tourism industry in the state, so I think it’s become very important,” says George Zimmermann, vice president of Travel Michigan, the state’s tourism-marketing arm.
New this year is Pure Michigan Jump Start, a competition offering a $5,000 prize for a winning Michigan tourism idea. The competition is modeled after Start Garden, a Grand Rapids venture capital fund that invests in new ideas that can potentially grow into businesses. Pure Michigan Jump Start sought tourism-related ideas from around the state.
“Anything involved with this…thing we call tourism, is something that we’re hoping to seed,” says Steve Yencich, president and CEO of the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association.
The top five candidates will present their ideas to conference attendees, who will cast votes and select a winner to be announced on the conference’s closing day.
Another conference feature is MSU’s tourism outlook, a presentation that includes a look back at 2012 and projections for 2013. MSU Professor and presenter Sarah Nicholls says she has heard from many in the industry “that a lot of them had banner years, really record-breaking years,” in 2012.
The Pure Michigan campaign, the latest research on its return on investment, and what lies ahead for it are slated for a session presented by Travel Michigan’s Zimmermann, who tells The Ticker he expects the session to include discussion of the state’s proposed international expansion.
Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed budget for fiscal 2014 called for an additional $4 million for Pure Michigan, boosting tourism promotion funding from $25 million to $29 million. If approved, the additional money would enable the state to enter the Toronto market, beef up its presence in Europe and promote Michigan tourism in Asia.
Brad Van Dommelen, president and CEO of the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau, has been invited to show a short video of Traverse City, as a preview to next year’s event.
In 2014, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is the destination for the meeting. The conference has grown to more than 900 attendees, including tourism representatives, economic development officials and others. More here.