May 20, 2010

Killing the Pure Michigan ads kills a great opportunity for Michigan tourism

The explosion on the BP oil rig and the massive oil gusher off the coast of Louisiana is hurting tourism in the area.

According to the New York Times, bookings for tourist excursions of the Gulf Coast of Florida and other Gulf of Mexico states is down because of concerns over the massive oil slick reaching beaches there and fishing areas. This is despite, to date, the beaches are clean and unaffected.

If those tourists are looking to go to clean beaches and great fishing spots that are in no danger at all of a massive oil slick they should consider Michigan. Michigan has more freshwater shoreline than any other state in the Union.

The fact is that, in our current bleak but improving economy, tourism has been one of the bright spots, and that has been borne out by the success of the Pure Michigan ads. In fact, in September the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association released a survey of its members showing 72.9 percent had seen an increase in out-of-state visitors coming to their facilities over the summer compared to the summer of 2008.

Wouldn’t it be great if those great ads featuring Tim Allen and Jeff Daniels ran in other states, so that people can see our beautiful beaches and spend the money there were going to spend in Florida in one of the Great Lakes shoreline towns? There is just one problem with that; Senate Republicans voted to end that successful ad campaign. Not only that, to add insult to injury, they cut 51 percent in the money to maintain the state’s welcome centers.

The governor proposed funding the ads with a $2.50 tax on rental cars near airports, a tax paid mostly by out-of-state travelers. But Senate Republicans refused to take up House Bill 5017 because any taxes are bad.

Another opportunity lost to blind ambition and ideology.

No comments: