Earlier this week Tourism professionals arrived in Grand Rapids for the 2018 Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism. And while they came for a conference, they also took time to leave a mark on Grand Rapids.
“Work on projects related to the flood. Some of the damage related to the floods that happened a couple of weeks ago as well as some attention to detail to make them a better experience for our residents and our visitors.”
That’s what happened earlier in the week when about 50 tourism professionals and Grand Valley State University students kicked off their Tourism conference by helping clean up Ah-Nab-Awen Park, Fish Ladder Park as well as Riverside Park. The effort is part of Michigan Cares for Tourism or MC4T… an organization chartered by Grand Valley’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Department among others. Patty Janes, GVSU professor and coordinator of MC4T. She says starting a conference off with volunteerism continues to get them off to a good start.
“Because people want to give back… you know they’re interested in volunteering and working alongside colleagues that they don’t get to do this type of effort with and there’s nothing better than feeling like you’ve made a contribution to an area or region that’s been good to you.”
Janes says they’ve done this before and while you might think… what does volunteering have to do with tourism, she says
“We’ve reaped more benefit from these experiences than we’ve ever thought imaginable. It gives us a stronger sense of pride in our own tourism in the state and we all leave more educated about a destination, maybe we didn’t know a lot about.”
Janes says they also have other events coming up to continue the clean-up and beautification efforts. Grand Valley students have coordinated one on April 4th and local tourism organizations will also be able to help beautify a number of flower beds in the city, come May.