Pure Michigan ads are back with $40M to put toward tourism

After a challenging couple of years, the Pure Michigan team hopes a $40 million budget can help fund tourism rebound in 2023.
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Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 9:44 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Pure Michigan ads went dark about three years ago after funding was cut to $0 in the state budget. Then six months later, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the state’s multibillion-dollar tourism.

According to a recent Michigan Economic Development Corporation report, the Pure Michigan brand outcome was not affected.

“What the report told us is that even though we were silent during the COVID era, the brand still resonated with the travel audience,” said Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan.

From 2019 to 2020, visitor spending dropped 33% going from $26.3 billion to $18.8 billion. But last year with pent-up demand for travel and COVID-19 vaccines rolling out, Pure Michigan started to advertise again.

“Even if we had funding in 2020, we wouldn’t have invested it because of the pandemic, not in the way that we traditionally did,” Lorenz said.

The $40 million budget, including $15 million of federal pandemic dollars, surpasses the $36 million allocated in 2019 and the $30 million last year. Lorenz hopes the funding boost will reinvigorate Michigan tourism during a pivotal year.

“It’s going to be a real test this coming season,” he said.

Now that COVID-19 border restrictions have eased, Pure Michigan ads will hit Canada, Europe, and regional alliances like Cruise the Great Lakes with the goal of restoring the state’s tourism industry to its pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

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