Despite Wonderful Weather, Concern of Higher Gas Prices Clouds Travel Season

Tourism Industry Reports ’05 Warm Weather Season Results

LANSING, Mich., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ — Concerns about Michigan’s rising gas prices and the economy were among the reasons that led to a soft travel season this past summer, Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“Michigan’s tourism industry has had to endure a couple of tough years. This year continued that trend with rising gas prices, reducing spending at many Michigan tourism businesses,” said George Zimmermann, Senior Vice President of Travel Michigan.

Survey data was gathered from two groups — Michigan tourism businesses and consumers potentially traveling within the state. Nearly half of the Michigan tourism businesses reported that business this summer was better than 2004. Of those businesses, 47% felt business was at least 10% better than the summer of 2004. When asked how much of an impact various factors had on business more than half report that both the economy and the price of gasoline had a negative impact on business. Unemployment rates and consumer confidence were also noted as factors that they felt impacted travel.

Consumers surveyed reported traveling the same amount or less than they did in the summer of 2004. However, travelers in Michigan spent an average of 4.5 nights in paid accommodations during the summer of 2005, slightly higher than 2004 (3.7 nights), but lower than the six nights projected when asked in May 2005.

Consumers also noted that they stayed closer to home for pleasure trips this season, showing an increased effect of gasoline prices on summer 2005 travel as compared to summer 2004 travel. Travelers indicated that gas prices would have had to exceed $2.95 per gallon to have had any impact, and exceed $3.30 per gallon to have had a significant impact on travel plans. On average, consumers spent $2.98 per gallon, suggesting a slight reduction already.

Overall the tourism industry contributes $16 billion to Michigan’s economy annually, accounting for 182,000 jobs, and generating $853 million in state tax revenues, making tourism the second largest industry in the state.

For a copy of the Travel Michigan: Michigan Travel Business Barometer, September 2005, please visit http://travelmichigannews.org/research.htm , the tourism industry site for the State of Michigan.

For more information on traveling in the State of Michigan, visit http://www.michigan.org/ , Michigan’s Official Economic Development and Travel Site, or call (888) 78-GREAT.

Travel Michigan, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, is the State of Michigan’s official agency for the promotion of tourism. Travel Michigan markets the state’s tourism industry and provides valuable visitor information services.

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