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Lawmakers Act to Protect Jobs, Tourism Tax Revenues

LANSING, Mich., Feb. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Tourism leaders thanked Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers for passage of legislation (HB 4160) providing a total of $25 million in funding for the Pure Michigan campaign.  The bill authorizes funding at those levels for the State’s 2011 and 2012 fiscal years.

The legislation makes significant strides towards a long-term funding solution for the award-winning campaign.  HB 4160 will keep the job-saving ads running nationally as well as in Michigan and other regional markets year-round. The campaign will invest $25 million a year to continue to draw tourists to Michigan from other states, creating jobs and generating hundreds of millions of dollars for local businesses and sales taxes for the state treasury.

HB 4160, approved in the Senate today on a vote of 35-1 and approved last week in the House by a margin of 95-13, now moves to the desk of Governor Snyder for his signature.  

“We deeply appreciate that Gov. Snyder, bill sponsor Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) and leaders in the Senate and House assigned passage of this bill a high priority,” said Steve Yencich, president/CEO of the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association.  “Pure Michigan has been proven to create jobs and tax revenues, and that’s a big win for our state’s economy.”

HB 4160 provides funding allowing for Pure Michigan ads to be aired in all four seasons, an outcome especially pleasing to winter ski and snowmobiling operators.  “This vote demonstrates our elected leaders recognize the strength and vitality of winter tourism and the contributions it makes to Michigan‘s economy,” said Michele MacWilliams, executive director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association.  “We applaud Gov. Snyder and legislative leaders like Senator Geoff Hansen and Representative Frank Foster for making passage of this bill a priority.”

Travel Michigan‘s tourism promotion budget for all seasons in 2009 was $30 million, which ranked Michigan as the sixth largest state tourism promotion budget in America.  But funding dropped to just $5.4 million until the Legislature acted to add $10 million during December’s lame duck session.  HB 4160 brought the total to $25.4 million for the current fiscal year.

Independent research released this year confirmed the Pure Michigan national ad campaign successfully attracts tourists from other states, protecting thousands of Michigan tourism jobs. A Longwoods International report released last year said the spring and summer 2009 Pure Michigan national campaign motivated 680,000 new trips to Michigan from outside the Great Lakes region. Those visitors spent $250 million at Michigan businesses in summer 2009 and paid $17.5 million in state taxes.

The national campaign, which aired ads in all 50 states, generated $2.23 in revenues for Michigan for every $1 spent on the ads, Longwoods concluded. Longwoods also measured the impact of Pure Michigan summer 2009 advertising on residents of regional markets — Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Ontario. Longwoods found the regional campaign improved its return on investment to Michigan from $2.86 in 2004 to $5.34 in 2009.

SOURCE Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association

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