Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Marci Cisneros said she’s banking on a 4 percent jump this year from the $59.2 million she said tourists plunked down in the area last year on lodging, food and beverages, entertainment, and gifts.
“As always, there are some wild cards as to what impacts travel,” Cisneros said. “The good news is, consumer confidence is on the rise. The not-so-good news is the slow start we are getting for spring travel, which could also carry over into a slow start with summer travel, weather-wise.”
According to a recent Michigan State University study, tourism spending statewide is expected to increase 4.5 percent this year, up from a 4 percent jump from 2012 to last year.
If we receive the cooler-than-normal summer as predicted by the National Weather Service, or gas prices soar, Cisneros said the numbers could soften for the season, and ultimately for the year.
But the trend is upward, as evidenced by the 17 percent jump in tourist spending from 2011 to 2013.
Norma Glass, owner of The Looking Glass Bed & Breakfast in Grand Haven, said 2012 was her best year ever, followed by last year. Entering her 17th year in business, Glass said she’s looking through rose-colored lenses that hopefully reflect reality.
“Everything is very positive,” she said. “I think the economy is picking up and I think there are a lot of people staying in the area. They’re exploring Michigan instead of going off to other states.”
According to the MSU study, the state’s reputation as a travel destination has grown in part because of the Pure Michigan campaign pumping $29 million into advertising, including $4 million for ads in Canada, Germany, China and the United Kingdom.
Glass said she’s had a steady flow of guests from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, India and China at her Harbor Drive establishment.
“They come here for our Big Lake and the beaches,” Glass said. “They’ll go from the east side to the west side of the state, and they’re just fascinated with the lakes.”
To read the whole story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.