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Experience GR President says cuts to Pure Michigan campaign a mistake

Pure Michigan

Doug Small says research indicates for every tourism dollar spent, there’s a $7.5 return

The Pure Michigan campaign’s mission is increasing visitor traffic by advertising the state’s destinations in-state and nationally. Those national ads are ending after the state cut $15 million dollars from Travel Michigan, the state tourism promotion agency’s budget. Beginning October 1st, Travel Michigan’s budget will drop to $15 million.

“That’s woefully low to the point it makes us noncompetitive.”

Doug Small is Experience Grand Rapids President and CEO.

“I’m a single destination and my budget’s $13.5 million to put that into perspective.”

Small can’t comprehend the legislature slashing the allocation when the state’s budget is a record $82 billion. He says research indicates for every tourism dollar spent, there’s a $7.5 return.

“We in Kent County, in 2022, did $248 million in hotel room sales.”

All told, visitor traffic to the county generated nearly $1 billion in economic impact. He suggests funding Pure Michigan’s national campaign using the county’s tourism funding model.

“Kent County collects a lodging excise tax. They collect a 5-percent lodging excise tax. I negotiate then with them a percentage of that to come to us to continue marketing, to continue to build hotel revenues so they get more. Why don’t we do this at the state level?”

He says a portion of that sales tax, 20-percent, would fund the state’s tourism campaign.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.
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