Michigan’s tourism plans can be summed up in one word – “Survive”
As Michigan hits its peak tourism months, owners of resorts and restaurants are saying a quiet prayer. They have immense concerns on what lies ahead and many say they have one goal for 2020: survival.
According to a report by CBS News, many tourism entrepreneurs are still optimistic about the summer, although business was down in June compared to last year. A few of them are finding it difficult to budget their business without knowing what’s ahead.
“Everybody knows this will not be a year to thrive, it’ll be a year simply to survive as a business,” said Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, the state’s tourism office.
In 2018, Michigan had 125 million visitors who spent $25.7 billion on tourism-related activities such as transportation, lodging, dining and recreation, according to the Michigan Tourism Impact report. Tourism spending supports about1 out of every 16jobs in the state and generated $2.8 billion in state and local taxes in 2018, the CBS News report said.
Many of the popular festivals that drive people to northern Michigan towns have been called off this year and Lorenz expects the number of travellers to drop from outside of Michigan. But he’s still hoping that Michiganders will stay in the state for vacations this summer from July through to September.
Business is down by 50-60% in resorts and hotels and there is fear that it will go further down. Some restaurants are not able to find temporary workers to fill the gaps, due to the coronavirus situation.
There have been more than 66,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and about 6,000 deaths in Michigan, according to the state Department of Health. As of the beginning of July, most counties in the state are considered to be in the two lowest risk categories in the Harvard Global Health Institute’s COVID risk level map.
However, a recent outbreak at a bar in East Lansing linked to more than 100 COVID-19 cases was a reminder that the virus can quickly spread, even if things are under control. Last week, in response to that outbreak and upticks around the country, Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered bars to stop indoor service in some parts of the state, the CBS News report added.