Traverse City Buzz: 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.