Pure Michigan is a driving force that has helped cement tourism as the state’s second-largest industry. This year the Sault Ste. Marie Convention & Visitors Bureau proudly reports a 27 percent increase in revenue, derived from overnight hotel room stays, for September 2019 compared to September 2018. We believe Pure Michigan’s fall campaign focusing on the Upper Peninsula has helped us achieve these record numbers.

The popular marketing campaign has become an iconic part of Michigan’s image. Across the country, people are familiar with the Tim Allen narrated television spots and radio advertisements, and the numbers have likewise proved the program has been a massive success.

“For Sault Ste. Marie, the Pure Michigan Campaign, has helped give us the branding that was needed to raise awareness for Sault Ste. Marie to levels I have never seen in my 17 years with the CVB,” said Sault CVB Executive Director Linda Hoath.

The Sault CVB, along with several other partners in the tourism industry across the state, pays to be a partner of Pure Michigan. In return, we have helped create a tourism industry that has significantly bolstered Michigan’s economy. According to a study conducted by Tourism Economics for 2018, visitor spending generated $25.7 billion in state GDP with $2.8 billion in state and local taxes, a 3.9 percent increase over 2017.

As has been reported in the news, the Pure Michigan marketing program is slated to be eliminated following a line-item veto from Governor Whitmer. All hope is not lost yet, though. In the original state budget, the house and senate proposed a $1.5 million increase, and the governor wanted to cut the budget from $35 to $31. Both sides do agree that tourism, and the Pure Michigan campaign, is essential, and now we need all of our voices to let them know: they have to find a middle ground.

We have immediately felt the impacts of the decision to line-item veto Pure Michigan. In October, the Sault CVB lost a valuable partner because of advertising concerns with Pure Michigan’s status up in the air. Cutting the program will have a catastrophic trickle-down effect, not only in Sault Ste. Marie, but across the state.

As a CVB in the Upper Peninsula that works hard throughout the state and Midwest to drive tourism to Michigan, we urge you to contact your representatives and governor. Ask them to support a supplemental budget that includes full restoration of the $37.5 million Pure Michigan funding. Michigan’s tourism economy is a pillar to this great state, and with the Pure Michigan campaign supporting itself and then some, focuses can be put on other state-funded programs.

Please take a moment to reach out to your state representatives. You can find your state representative here, and you can find your state senator here. Governor Whitmer is reachable here. To share your opinion on Pure Michigan with her click here. 

For residents of the Sault Ste. Marie area:

House Speaker Lee Chatfield is available here, and his email is here. Senator Wayne Schmidt can is available here, and to email him, click here.