By MIKE NORTON
TRAVERSE CITY, MI — Traverse City’s tourism economy continues to show strong growth – generating increased spending, employment and an enhanced quality of life for local residents, according to a study released this week by the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau.
That organization, in fact, has now changed its name to Traverse City Tourism, in recognition of its ongoing commitment to the region’s tourism industry and its role as a valuable economic, cultural, social and environmental force for the community and its residents.
“We are very pleased with the continued progress that our organization is making in building Traverse City’s destination brand awareness,” said Brad Van Dommelen, President and CEO of Traverse City Tourism. “We’ve experienced significant growth in our tourism volume, including from more distant markets, as consumers learn about our destination attributes.”
The study, conducted by Anderson Economic Group of East Lansing, confirmed once again that tourism is a major contributor to the area’s 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 study:
- In 2012 tourism generated over 3.3 million visitor trips to Traverse City, producing nearly $1.2 billion in direct spending and supporting (directly and indirectly) more than 12,000 jobs across the Traverse City area – about 30 percent of all employment in the region — and contributing about $67 million in state use and sales taxes.
- Those figures reflect a growth rate of some 4.5 percent per year in the economic contribution made by Traverse City’s tourism economy since 2006, when a similar study showed a total economic impact of $937 million.
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. With a population of approximately 15,000 residents, Traverse City could not support the diversity, variety and quality of these amenities without the economic contribution generated by tourism.
About Traverse City Tourism (TCT)
Organized in 1981 as the Traverse City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Traverse City Tourism (TCT) is a nonprofit corporation that serves as the area’s official destination marketing organization. Its focused mission is to stimulate economic growth through the attraction of convention business and leisure tourism development.
Traverse City Tourism works to enhance, reinforce and develop the Traverse City brand, telling the Traverse City story to potential visitors through advertising, marketing, tradeshows, publications, sales missions, media relations and Visitor Center services. Its experienced and knowledgeable team members are motivated by pride for their community and a desire to advance its economic wellbeing without sacrificing the values that make it such a special place.
- TCT sales representatives showcase the community to meeting planners from around the country, encouraging them to bring their meetings, conventions, conferences and sporting events to Traverse City.
- TCT marketing and media specialists place advertising in a wide range of national and international publications, television and radio networks and electronic media. They invite writers, bloggers and editors to the area to experience Traverse City first-hand. These visits often result in an stories and articles that help build destination brand awareness, and have helped bring the destination many national and international accolades in recent years.
- Since 1995, TCT has operated a popular visitor’s center at the corner of Union Street and Grandview Parkway. Staffed by over 100 trained and enthusiastic community volunteers, the center is open seven days a week during the summer and fall and six days the remainder of the year.
- Visitors can call a toll-free number, 1-800-TRAVERSE, to request information and get assistance with booking hotel rooms. In addition, TCT maintains a popular web site at www.traversecity.com that is one of the area’s most widely-consulted sources for up-to-date information about attractions, events, restaurants and lodging options.
Why the Name Change?
Traverse City Tourism is following a trend that started about a decade ago when many “Convention and Visitors Bureaus” across the country began changing their names to a more user friendly name and to a name that better connects their mission to the community they work to support.
“The new name and updated logo are designed to clearly define the industry that is Traverse City Tourism’s primary responsibility, which is tourism,” said Van Dommelen. “Over the years our name had been a continuous source of confusion about who we are and what we do. The “Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau” name was difficult to remember — and the word “bureau” implied that we were a government agency. “
*Content sponsored by the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau.