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Michigan's Tourism Industry Examination

21 June 2006

Tourism is the world's largest and fastest growing industry, totaling approximately $6 trillion in 2005. On a state level, research cited by a Michigan State University (MSU) shows that the state of Michigan has not made tourism an economic development priority, and also shows that Michigan currently has a large travel trade deficit. A statistic outlined by MSU's learned tourism scholars is that Michigan residents spend almost $3 billion more per year on out-of-state trips than non-residents spend on Michigan trips. With all that Michigan has to offer, this statistic is truly shocking.

In an effort to balance the trade deficit, a group of Michigan tourism industry representatives met on November 30, 2005, to discuss an initiative to gain support and raise funds for the development of a much needed comprehensive plan to guide Michigan's tourism industry. The attendees agreed that such a plan was desperately needed and unanimously voted to move the initiative forward, thus creating the Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan Project.

With the assistance of MSU and Travel Michigan, a planning council comprised of over 75 Michigan tourism industry organizations has been formed to work on developing the first-ever strategic plan to guide the Michigan Tourism industry. In May 2006, the council met and identified several major issues the plan should address, and organized separate teams to analyze each of the specified areas. Information collected by the teams will be compiled to create one comprehensive, all-inclusive plan to be presented at an industry conference in March, 2007.

In an effort to gain as much feedback as possible, the MSU/Travel Michigan team will hold several "listening sessions" during the month of July. These sessions, held throughout the state, will allow the team to meet with industry stakeholders, provide them with information about the process, and listen to their comments and concerns regarding each issue. The work teams will use information from the sessions in their planning process. Sessions are free of charge and open to all industry professionals. For a list of the dates and locations, please visit http://www.tourismcenter.msu.edu/plan.

Casinos in the state of Michigan are a key part of the tourism industry. Hopefully, each casino will be well represented as the entire tourism industry works toward the development of this comprehensive plan. MSU and Travel Michigan should be applauded for their fine work in coordinating this effort. Working together, there is no reason that members of the tourism industry can't erase the deficit and bring more visitors to the state.

David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com
David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com