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Last updated 10:02AM ET
March 6, 2021
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Business Review Western MI
Business Review Western MI
Tourism Battle
(wgvu) - As Travel Michigan was pleading with the state for more money to
continue marketing in the Midwest came the sound of Wisconsin billboards
rising in Grand Rapids.

Michigan's tourism arm has loudly asked for the funds to allow it to
market in neighboring states including Wisconsin, which it penetrated
in 2006 thanks to a temporary bump in budget.

While the budget for tourism has yet to be decided, continuing those
advertisements are vital to maximizing dollars for the state, Travel
Michigan spokesman Dave Lorenz said.

If we don't get that additional allocation, we would have to probably
eliminate the new markets we started in, which would be a shame because
you need to really develop about a three-year awareness pattern,
Lorenz said.

Wisconsin knows that, too, and began marketing in western Michigan last
year both states taking advantage of the ferry service that now
connects them. Wisconsin will have spend $245,000 marketing itself in
western Michigan from July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2007, said Sarah Clavas,
director of marketing services for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

Michigan dedicated $757,808 in Wisconsin from May to August of this
year, Travel Michigan reported.

It's a war for people's time and travel dollars, Lorenz said. They
know the same thing we know. They're hoping they can get across their
message to Michigan residents that they can get great experiences
outside Michigan before we get the message out they can get the same
experience and better here.

Wisconsin garners six percent of its market share from Michigan, Clavas
reported, noting that it advertises only on the western side of the state.

Meanwhile, in Michigan, tourism is down four percent between
fourth-quarter 2006 and first-quarter 2007, according to Comerica Bank's
Michigan Tourism Index. The index measures occupancy rates at hotels,
airline traffic and museum visits, among other things.

In addition to Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana as well as
foreign countries, such as Turkey all advertise in western Michigan,
Lorenz said.

We are quite literally marketing against the world, he said. It's us
against the world.
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