I take a Sardonic Look at Pure Michigan and am not Disappointed.

We just returned from a  two week work/biking trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The county is a tourist attraction with enormous economic activity related to this. New restaurants, building onto hotels, buses  with retirees from NYC and Philly rolling through the countryside pestering Anabaptists, much to their irritation. The aggravation and frenzy of successful tourism made me look into the highly touted Pure Michigan thing.

Pure Michigan began as a national advertising campaign in 2006 sponsored by the state of Michigan’s MEDC. The latest figure available to me shows costs us taxpayers 30 million per year. Supporters use the figure of 1.2 billion dollars spent in our state by visitors, claiming the expenditure as a handsome return on “investment” when peddling Pure Michigan.


We can get a handle on Pure Michigan’s impact by inspecting the BLS statistics. I tallied the total number of jobs and the number of jobs in the Leisure & Hospitality categories in 6 states in the Great Lakes area.

Total jobs in the states fell in four of those states, rising only modestly in Indiana and Pennsylvania. Jobs in tourism related businesses like restaurants, recreation, and hotels rose in all 6 states but to different degrees.

Jobs in Hospitality (000)    Jan 2005                 May 2015      Gain over 10 years

Mi.                                      405                          421                16

Ill.                                        505                         565                 60

In.                                        274                         301                 27

Oh                                        498                         547                49

Wi.                                        252                         272                20

Pa.                                        480                         551                71

It seems that the 5 states that didn’t advertise their tourist attractions had a much greater increase (relative and absolute) in the number of jobs than did Michigan. “Pure Michigan” probably repelled visitors rather than attracted them.

Our state legislators nevertheless remain undeterred by failure.

One thought on “I take a Sardonic Look at Pure Michigan and am not Disappointed.

  1. Jerry DeMaagd

    Illinois does advertise regularly on TV. Northern Indiana once and awhile. The attraction for Chicago is that it’s not Detroit. The attraction for Western Michigan is the beaches….would the visitors come anyway?….probably.



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