FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2017
TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY GROWTH CONTINUES IN MUSKEGON COUNTY
Visit Muskegon highlights positive tourism and hospitality growth during
National Travel & Tourism Week
MUSKEGON, MI – The hospitality and tourism businesses of Muskegon County, Michigan continue to see growth in the industry as the county develops as a visitor and meeting/events destination.
Numbers released this week from Visit Muskegon, the county’s convention and visitors bureau (CVB), demonstrated that growth, showing a 4.7% increase in accommodations tax collections for Muskegon County, the third straight year in a row that the county has collected over $1 million in accommodations tax revenues. This number translates into $24,156,340 in revenues for owners of lodging facilities within Muskegon County.
“There are many factors that are helping our industry grow in Muskegon County,” said Bob Lukens, director of Visit Muskegon. “Festivals and events draw new and returning visitors, and Muskegon County’s festivals are growing bigger and better every year. Fishing, boating and other outdoor sports are seeing tremendous growth as visitors want to get out and enjoy Pure Michigan.”
“Additionally, our meetings and conventions, group tour, and sports and niche markets are also seeing considerable growth, thanks to the effort of our sales team and our expanded sales marketing outreach,” Lukens said, referring to Visit Muskegon’s industry trade show attendance and industry trade publications and websites.
Visit Muskegon also participates in Travel Michigan’s “Pure Michigan” marketing partnership programs, reaching potential visitors in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and is a member of Michigan Beachtowns, a consortium of 7 CVBs along the Lake Michigan shoreline, from the state line north to US 10. Visit Muskegon reaches potential leisure visitors via billboards, cable TV advertising, radio show sponsorships, leisure publication advertising, and of course, social media.
“We’re riding the social media wave, but continue encouraging people to put down their phones and tablets to really ride the waves at any one of our Lake Michigan beaches!” Lukens said.
He cited festivals as just one example of the kind of activities that are drawing new visitors to Muskegon County. “Our festivals and events are off the charts,” he said. “Every one of our annual festivals have shown visitor increases in 2016, with the Lakeshore Art Festival, Shoreline Jazz Festival, Unity Festival, and Michigan Irish Music Festival drawing bigger and bigger crowds every year. These annual events, combined with newer festivals like the upcoming Port City Crit (bicycle race) this Saturday, May 13, the Back to the Bricks car event on June 11, and the Burning Foot Beer Festival in August, demonstrate the explosive growth the tourism industry is having in Muskegon County.”
Another visitor driver is sports and fishing. “This summer, we are hosting 37 fishing tournaments on our inland lakes alone,” Lukens said, “and that’s not including the salmon tourneys out on Lake Michigan. We’re hosting a Michigan collegiate bass tourney, and many, many additional bass tournaments throughout the summer and into the fall.”
“Additionally, more and more cyclists are discovering Muskegon County as a place to begin, stop over, or end their cycling trips,” Lukens said. “Our large network of trails and scenic rides – plus Lake Express service to and from Milwaukee – makes Muskegon County an ideal cycling location.”
The Tourism and Hospitality industry is Muskegon County’s fourth largest industry, after High-Tech Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Agriculture, and tourism continues to grow year-over-year in the county. Recent research indicated that people’s perceptions of Muskegon as a “factory town” are indeed changing, and potential visitors are seeing that change in the many new festivals and events, new retail businesses, restaurants and entertainment establishments, and construction projects currently underway in Muskegon County.
Lukens specifically cited the water park expansion at Michigan’s Adventure as a project that will help draw more visitors to Muskegon County.
Visit Muskegon markets Muskegon County to potential visitors 50 miles or more outside of Muskegon County in an effort to produce hotel and lodging overnights.
The Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau
610 W. Western Avenue · Muskegon, MI 49440