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Michigan Tourism Industry Hit Hard By Pandemic But Anticipates An Eventual, Healthy Comeback

Lake Michigan
Lisa Barry
89.1 WEMU

Roughly half of the workers in Michigan's tourism industry have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, creators of the "Pure Michigan" campaign.

WEMU's Lisa Barry talked with Lorenz about the immediate impact of the health crisis, who says it will likely take some time, but pent-up demand for travel will benefit the state down the road.

Dave Lorenz of Travel Michigan says that, due to the COVID-19 crisis, about 50% of Michigan's workers in the tourism business have been furloughed or laid off.  Despite this and the fact that there's no budget to work with, the Pure Michigan team is still working hard from their respective home offices to get the state's tourism industry back up and running.

Once the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order gets lifted and things get back to normal, Lorenz encourages everyone to explore what Michigan has to offer.  After all, he anticipates no one will be flying to other locations for at least a year.  Plus, travellers should understand that tourism involves more than just lakes and golf courses.  Every business, from restaurants to retail outlets, contributes to the overall tourism industry.

While at home, potential tourists can plan their future trips online.  The new, "Virtually Travel Pure Michigan" site allows people to explore everything Michigan has to offer.

If you want to assist Michigan's restaurant and lodging workers, you can contribute to the Michigan Hospitality Industry Employee Relief Fund by clicking here.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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