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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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Jeff Location: Manistee Co. Mi. on May 3, 2007 at 07:15 AM
    Insane! Has anyone looked around? There are hundreds of homes and properties for sale,and nobody's buying. Our "illustrious" state government has bankrupted this state. People are leaving.Tax dollars are leaving with them. The roads are crumbling.Our gas tax is supposed to take care of that.Why isn't it? Tourism within the state? Please! Don't take us for fools! Michiganders can barely afford the gas to drive back and forth to work,let alone, waste it on in-state tourism! I don't have the solution,but I know that what Granholm is doing,ISN'T it! Someone is blowing some serious smoke up "you know where" and trying to get the people of Michigan to not only accept the gas prices as needed and natural,but to lead us all to believe that things are getting better. What out of state tourist will want to come to Michigan and spend money for the local economy when: 1) gas prices are this high 2) the roads are in poor shape 3) reduced police patrols on the roads(leading to more accidents) 4)speaking of an increase in accidents,let's not forget our "no-fault" insurance. Why would anyone from out of state come here? Why are we still here?
  • by Robert Location: Charlotte, MI on May 1, 2007 at 02:46 AM
    That statement is absurd! We vacation in northern Michigan every summer and with gas prices the way they are at this moment(soon to change i'll bet) we will not be going up north nearly as much as we used too.
  • by David Location: MI on Apr 30, 2007 at 09:37 AM
    I can see where more people would stay in-state and do things here rather than travel out of state. I can see in that aspect of having some benefit. But even then its a strain on our wallets.
  • by PAM Location: MI on Apr 30, 2007 at 09:33 AM
    Somebody has a serious case of denial. Higher gas prices will kill tourism in this state. Along with everything else in this state that is on it's way out. Like jobs, families, etc.......Michigan will be ghost state before long. The only ones that can afford to live here are the high paid legislators.
  • by Gloria Location: Grand Ledge on Apr 29, 2007 at 09:27 AM
    I think Mr. Ballard is seriously wrong! It is going to hurt tourist trade, I think he just to justify the gas hike. I LIVE in michigan and I can;'t afford to take my grand children camping. He should rethink his postion or talk to people of MICHIGAN
  • by David Location: MI on Apr 28, 2007 at 03:17 PM
    Prices won't affect the well to do families but it will effect those who are low income. Are the wealthy going to save the state by traveling regardless of gas prices?
  • by stacy Location: jackson on Apr 28, 2007 at 01:43 PM
    Your kidding right. With gas prices high in this state people aren't going to be coming here. The surrounding state have lower gas prices most of the time they won't want to go where the prices are higher.
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