photo credit: expansive by ojoyous1
Traverse City Tourism has surveyed almost 1,800 people who requested information about the area during the past year and a half about themselves, what motivates them, why they choose our area, what they do when they're visiting and how they felt about their experiences here. The findings are pretty interesting and we think that business owners and residents alike will be interested in the eye-opening numbers:
Just over 90 percent of the respondents came from 10 states, well over half from outside Michigan: Illinois (11.3%), Ohio (10.3%), Indiana (7.5%), Wisconsin (4%), Texas (1.7%), Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania (1.3%) and Florida (1.2%). They are likely to travel to the region by car, and 96 percent travel as couples or small family-size groups. Typically they stay two or three nights, taking in a wide variety of activities while here.
While the organization is based in Traverse City and funded by TC hotels, it's clear that Leelanau is an integral part of the "Traverse City experience":
Survey respondents said their top primary reasons for choosing Traverse City were the region’s wineries and breweries, the Sleeping Bear Dunes, other forms of outdoor recreation, and visiting friends and family, and 95 percent said they intended to return to Traverse City. Their reasons? The area’s natural beauty, its many activities, the quality of its wineries, restaurants and shopping and the friendliness of its people.
The survey’s significance for Traverse City was underlined by another recent study conducted by Anderson Economic Group of East Lansing, confirming the role of tourism as a major driver of the local economy, generating billions in spending that supports local businesses and municipal services, creating employment for thousands of local residents, and supporting the enhanced quality of life that local residents enjoy.
According to the AEC study, in 2012 visitors made 3.3 million visitor trips to Traverse City. They spent nearly $1.2 billion in Traverse City, supporting (directly and indirectly) about 12,000 jobs across the area – about 30 percent of total employment -- and contributing about $67 million in state use and sales taxes.
On the social and cultural level, the study demonstrated that tourism contributes profoundly to the area’s quality of life by supporting its large number of restaurants, wineries, microbreweries, galleries, museums, festivals and retail shops. This includes significant support for Traverse City’s vibrant downtown retail and entertainment district, which is enjoyed by local residents but is supported in a significant way by visitors.
So the next time a "Fudgie" slows you down on the way to work or you have to take and extra 10 minutes at the grocery store, try and remember that our visitors are having a monumental impact on the quality of life we all enjoy!