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Muskegon County tourism on the rise

Watch Muskegon
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  The Watch Muskegon image campaign is in its infancy. It was launched in May with the goal to improve Muskegon’s image. The focus is on positive change that if successful will attract new residents, business, capital investment and tourism. For the folks behind the Watch Muskegon campaign, tourism is a leading indicator for success.

“Living on the lakeshore is a unique experience in and of itself.”

Overlooking a Muskegon Lake marina, local business leaders meet for a bite to eat at Dockers Waterfront Grille and discuss the new Watch Muskegon image campaign.

“I am really passionate about working in Muskegon. I think you should be too.”

“What we want people to know is that Muskegon is repositioning itself.”

Cindy Larsen is President of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce.

While the area is known for its manufacturing, the campaign focuses on education, beautification and marketing. Today, those elements highlight Muskegon’s tourism industry.

“Our tourism development is really just skyrocketing…two to three years ago we had about a million tourists coming into Muskegon County. Today we have 1.5 million tourists coming into Muskegon County. That’s a very big jump for that period of time.”

The numbers continued to climb Wednesday when a cruise ship made a stop at the Mart Dock. The first time that’s happened in 40 years.

“Long-term this campaign has to help us become a four season tourism community. Right now hotels are sold out in the summer, but there are plenty of things to do year round even at the state parks with hiking, snow shoeing and the luge at the Winter Sports Complex so year round tourism is a long-term goal.”

With 27 miles of Lake Michigan beach and 13 museums, Larsen says if people like to play in Muskegon, they may want to take advantage of job opportunities and affordable housing. Those areas are also promoted in the Watch Muskegon campaign.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.

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