High Gas Prices Good For Michigan Tourism

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

They keep going up... and up... and up.

Those pesky gas prices.

And who wants to take a car trip when it costs so much to fill up a tank? Turns out, more people than you'd think.

"Gas prices are up. Are you not going to go on that trip you promised your kids all year? You're probably still going to go on that trip," says MSU economist Charles Ballard.

"We don't think it's going to change travel a lot, frankly," says vice president of Travel Michigan George Zimmermann. "With so many great destinations close by, a tank in many cases, another $10 to $20 in gas isn't going to stop them from going."

While people may not be ready to give up their road trips just yet, they may compensate by spending less on fancy dinners or expensive hotels while traveling this summer.

"Don't let sticker price shock you at the pump and keep you from having a good summer," Zimmermann says.

Curiously enough, high gas prices may actually mean good news for Michigan's tourism industry.

"Aa lot of people in the midwest who would've gone to Colorado are now going to Traverse City, or Petoskey or Grand Haven," says Ballard.

ZImmermann agrees. "A lot of people who thought about going farther, which we're opposed to, now many be looking at Michigan."

And that potentially means even bigger bucks for the state. Michigan already generates $17.5 billion in revenue annually. And 88 percent of leisure travel in the US remains taken by car.

"We really see ourselves as a way to beat the high gas prices," Zimmerman says.

An upside to the downside at the pump.


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