WMU News

It's a buyer's market for summer tourists

June 13, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- There's good and bad news when it comes to Michigan's summer tourism season.

It appears there will be only modest growth in tourist spending this year, but that should be good news for tourists, says Dr. Eldor Quandt, a WMU associate professor of geography and tourism expert. To avoid another lackluster year, Quandt expects many of the state's tourist resorts and well-known golf courses in the northern Lower Peninsula to offer reduced packages to attract visitors.

"This has been a trend, certainly since last summer, and it has continued into this year," Quandt says. "So what we're going to see is certainly a buyer's market here and I think that's a positive thing for those of us who are tourists."

The tourism industry outlook is mixed for providers, however. Quandt says tourist spending last year remained flat due to a faltering economy and aftermath of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Michigan in recent years had been seeing increases in tourist spending of 3 to 4 percent annually, Quandt says. But the industry should pick up a bit this year as the economy improves. A shift to more regional travel, as opposed to long-distance trips to Florida or California, should help improve the state's tourism picture.

"I think what we're going to be looking at is maybe a percent-and-a-half, maybe top out at 2 percent, which I think if we do that, we're going to be at a very, very good point in terms of [Michigan's] tourism economy."

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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