Gas Prices Dropping, But Are They Low Enough For A Booming Travel Season?

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

Check out the gas prices around town.

Two years ago, people wouldn't have believed them.

But two weeks ago, people would have clamored for them.

"You know, I never thought I'd think $3.19 a gallon is cheap, but that's what it's come down to I guess," says Ted Goff of Okemos.

George Zimmermann, VP of "Travel Michigan," the state's tourism department, says unusually expensive gas did put the brakes on tourism the past few weeks.

"We've heard some anecdotal evidence from resorts and businesses, that it wasn't quite as busy as they usually had been this time of year."

But thanks to dropping gas prices and record investment in the "Pure Michigan" advertising campaign, interest in Michigan tourism is back in the fast lane.

"We are seeing a lot of interest in Michigan as a destination," Zimmermann says. "Michigan.org was the number one state tourism Web site both in April and May. That shows a lot of interest there."

A record 30 cities have invested in Pure Michigan advertisements this summer, including Lansing and Jackson. It's still too early to tell if they've seen a return on those investments, but if gas prices keep dropping, Michigan may see some green in its future.

Those 30 partners have put more than $1million into our program," Zimmermann says. "Typical return is $2 to $3 for every dollar spent. Our advertising budget is around $10 million, so we plan to get $20 to $30 million back from that."

Goff says he'll add to that revenue.

"I'm going to traverse city in a few weeks."

So too will others, most likely, if these prices continue tumbling downwards.


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