Tourism Coalition Urges Funding of Pure Michigan Campaign

When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer cut 147 items from the state budget in September, the Pure Michigan campaign was a victim of the line-item vetoes.

Actor and comedian Tim Allen’s voice accompanies picturesque video of Michigan, ranging from Detroit to the Upper Peninsula. Forbes named the Pure Michigan campaign among the Top 10 state tourism campaigns in 2009.

But – for now – the campaign is in a state of budgetary limbo.

One organization isn’t mincing words when it comes to reviving Pure Michigan, which was funded at $37 million in the budget. The Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan, a statewide tourism organization, wants the campaign to be active again.

“Tourism is Michigan’s third-largest industry and vital to our state’s continuing growth and economic vitality,” said coalition President Julie Pingston.

Pingston said tourism spending directly supported 227,497 jobs in Michigan in 2018. Michigan welcomed 124.8 million visitors in 2018 and visitor spending rose 3.9 % to $25.7 billion. That translated into $10.8 billion gross domestic product directly supported by tourism, according to Travel Michigan.

“The Pure Michigan campaign invites visitors to travel to and through our state to see firsthand the array of exceptional natural, cultural, recreational and heritage assets that that form the basis of Michigan’s tourism industry,” Pingston explained. “The individual members of Michigan’s travel industry continually validate the Pure Michigan Promise embedded in the Pure Michigan campaign; namely, that Michigan is the perfect place to live, work, grow and play.”

The coalition, which has a mission is “to strengthen Michigan’s travel and tourism industry as a vital component of economic development and quality of life through governmental advocacy, public relations, collaboration, and other promotional and educational efforts,” has a broad and diverse membership that includes professional organizations representing Michigan’s campgrounds, RV parks, outdoor recreation, boating industries, and festivals and events. Also included in its membership are golf courses, hotels-motels-resorts, restaurants, breweries, bed and breakfasts, convention and visitor’s organizations throughout the state, snow sports industries, and tourism publishing.

The governor and legislative leaders are in negotiations to restore some of the $947 million in line-item vetoes, which includes $375 million earmarked for road and bridge repair.

To learn more about the economic impact of tourism to Michigan, visit



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