For immediate release January 2, 2020

Without Pure Michigan funding, tourism-dependent incomes will suffer

As Michigan lawmakers and the governor decide this month whether to reinstate funding for Pure Michigan tourism promotion, the Michigan Bed and Breakfast Association (MBBA) is launching a POOR MICHIGAN campaign to create awareness of the thousands of Michigan people whose livelihoods depend on tourism.

The statewide association’s goal is to rally its 80 B&B-owning members and other tourism-dependent businesses to demand that state legislators and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer restore $37.5 million in 2020 funding for Pure Michigan.

If funding is not soon restored, MBBA’s board of directors fears negative ripple effects for the owners of small businesses such as B&Bs, their families, and communities all over Michigan whose economies are strengthened by tourism.

According to the state’s most recent analysis of the economic impact of tourism, 346,308 jobs in Michigan are sustained by tourism.

‘This is a lifeblood issue for small businesses.’

MBBA President Dr. Patricia Widmayer said, “If Pure Michigan funding is not fully restored soon, our state’s small tourism-dependent businesses will be the poorer for it. Communicating that to decision makers in Lansing is the point of our POOR MICHIGAN campaign.”

Dr. Widmayer and her husband Larry, along with another couple, own Glen Arbor Bed and Breakfast and Cottages in Glen Arbor.

“Michigan is rich in the natural attributes and attractions that make people want to travel here, so we have a great product to sell,” Dr. Widmayer added. “Over more than a decade, Pure Michigan’s innovative promotions put our state’s riches top of mind, both nationwide and abroad. The program more than pays for itself by stimulating spending and tax revenue. It needs to continue. This is a lifeblood issue for small businesses.”

Dr. Widmayer compared the $37.5 million requested for Pure Michigan to the $35.3 million in new tax incentives that the Michigan Strategic Fund board approved in December for Ford Motor Co. “Ford says the tax incentives will result in 3,000 new jobs. For a comparable annual investment, Pure Michigan sustains more than a hundred times that many Michigan jobs.”

How tourism benefits seemingly unrelated businesses

She called attention to tourism’s multiplier effect on communities. “Travelers’ spending benefits not only the places where they stay, eat, shop and entertain themselves; it also benefits seemingly unrelated businesses and community organizations along pathways that cannot be traced directly to tourist dollars.”

For example: A waiter who earned more wages and tips because the restaurant where he works served more travelers decides to buy a car, get his teeth fixed, go to a barber more often, or take college classes. And to attract even more tourists, the restaurant owner decides to improve its facade, add landscaping, get redesigned signage, pave the parking lot, upgrade its Michigan wine list, and add more locally grown foods to the menu.

What happens in the above scenario when tourism spending drops is the point of MBBA’s POOR MICHIGAN campaign.

How you can help resurrect Pure Michigan funding

MBBA is urging its members and others to contact the governor and their state representatives and senators at least every Monday until Pure Michigan’s funding is fully restored.

As of Jan. 1, Pure Michigan remained visible on the web, but the budget for advertising and outreach is gone. As Jeff Mason, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., told Crain’s Detroit Business in December, “Come Jan. 1, you won’t see any advertising for the Pure Michigan campaign, whether it’s on bowl games or anywhere else since there was not any restoration of those dollars.” Travel Michigan’s small staff will get temporary reassignments within MEDC.

For more information:

Linda Singer | MBBA Administrative Director | 616-575-1610 | [email protected]

Sandy White | MBBA Marketing Director | [email protected] |


Links and Contact Information

Report on Economic Impact of Tourism in Michigan (May 2019), referenced above

Analysis by County of the above report (October 2019)

The Honorable Governor Whitmer: State of Michigan, PO Box 30013, Lansing, MI 48909 | Call 517-335-7858 |  Email: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­[email protected]

Thanks to the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, click here for a super-easy way to communicate with both your state rep and senator at once. It’s best to make your comments personal to your business, your family or your town.

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