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Tourism Brings In About $66 Million a Year to Bay County Economy, Says MSU

Travel Trips To Bay County
Estimated at 800,000 Per Year

November 19, 2002       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Bethany Wolf, general manager of the Fairfield Inn near the Bay City Mall, checks in a guest
 

Tourism is not small potatoes in Bay County, according to a recent Michigan State University study.



Key findings of the MSU Department of Park Recreation and Tourism Resources show that tourists spend about $66 million a year in Bay County, excluding airfares, on about 800,000 travel trips a year here.

Direct effects of tourism-related businesses include about 1,300 jobs paying about $18 million a year in wages, salaries and benefits. Secondary effects include 1,500 jobs with $25 million in wages and salaries. Tourism accounts for about 1.3 percent of all sales in the county and about 3 percent of all jobs.

"We think there is potential for substantial increases in these figures as more people become aware of what we have to offer, especially on the waterfront, and when the new Doubletree Hotel and Conference Center is completed in 2004," said Shirley Roberts, executive director of the Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The study, entitled "Economic Impacts of Visitor Spending in Bay County," was sponsored by Travel Michigan, Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station. The tourism study covered 1999, 2000 and 2001.

The roughly 800,000 visits here by tourists includes 215,000 day trips and 585,000 overnight trips. Average party size is 2.6 persons, the study states. Some 58 percent of visitors stay overnight with friends and relatives, 22 percent stay in motels, 3 percent in campgrounds and 3 percent in seasonal homes, while 14 percent are day trips.

Spending is estimated at $74 per travel party per day for day visitors, $192 per night for visitors in motels. Tourist spending accounts for 80 percent of all hotel sales, 14 percent of restaurant sales, 15 percent of amusements and 4 percent of retail trade, according to the study. Spending by category includes restaurants, 20 percent; lodging, 19 percent; gas and local transportation 15 percent; groceries, 15 percent; recreation/entertainment, 7 percent; other retail, 24 percent.

Daniel Stynes, MSU official conducting the study, notes: "Regions with extensive economic development will have larger tourism multipliers than regions with limited economic development. The overall tourism sales multiplier for Bay County is 1.38, which means that an additional .38 in secondary sales is generated for every $1 of direct tourism sales."

Through room tax collections on 62 percent of all hotel and motel rooms in the county, the CVB collected about $123,000 in 2000 and about $110,000 in 2001. State sales taxes on tourism spending amounted to about $3.8 million per year. Local room taxes pay the entire budget for operations of the CVB, according to Mrs. Roberts.



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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at carraroe@aol.com)

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