Understanding tourism for Michigan communities

MSU Extension’s tourism team continues to educate audiences on several niche areas that can help sustain one of Michigan’s largest industries-tourism!

Have you ever wondered just how important tourism really is for Michigan? Have you noticed a number of different types of tourism that have evolved from other industries, such as agriculture or ecology, and unsure as to what they are? Have you wondered just how large the tourism industry really is, but unsure as to why or how it plays an integral role in communities and local businesses? Tourism connects with several industries and is integral to the survival of many.

Continuing from a successful first year program in 2014, the Michigan State University Extension tourism team, a statewide work team of faculty, continues to deliver “Understanding Tourism for Michigan Communities (UTMC)” across Michigan. The two-hour program is directed at communities and individuals seeking to better understand tourism opportunities and how niche markets can help transform, grow, and sustain assets in their own communities. .

A description of the program, which is offered periodically around the Great Lakes State and at request, offers a glimpse into the educational areas explored during this well-received program.

Tourism, the world’s largest industry, encompasses niche markets that can foster and sustain tourism growth while supporting other industries as well, such as agriculture, conservation, and/or education. Michigan’s tourism industry is broadening in the 21st century and embracing larger numbers of national and international visitors with diverse interests and spending habits. With this expected growth, more tourists bring new opportunities for Michigan communities to embrace and prosper. Learn of several specific niche markets and how they can be employed at local levels to sustain your regional economy and larger industry overall.

The tourism program highlights active niche markets and their strategies to help strengthen and sustain communities. Ecotourism, for example, is a specific niche area which combines ecology with responsible tourism activities in nature-based areas. This specific focus area is just one example where attendees will gain perspective on this popular form of tourism and it’s capabilities of contributing to a more sustainable tourism industry for Michigan. Other program areas address tourism and its relation to food, agriculture, heritage and culture, as well as volunteering. Participants will also be exposed to controversial tourism topics, such as the growing trends in AirBnB, Uber, and other person-to-person shared resources.

Please contact your local MSU Extension office or check the MSU Extension online events page for more information. This program is available at request throughout the year.

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