Trips begin in Michigan, but are ending up in East Lansing

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By Mariah Montenegro
Entirely East Lansing staff writer

The Pure Michigan ad campaign is the state of Michigan’s latest technique to restore the economy.

Pure Michigan is in charge of travel and tourism.

Advertisements are one attempt to get people to visit the state.

Once in Michigan, where should you go? Residents and members of East Lansing think their region has a lot to offer.

A limited stay or extended stay, East Lansing houses the Potter Park Zoo, Kresge Art Museum, the Wharton Center, and Michigan State University.

Tracy Padot of Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau thinks tourist should visit the campus of Michigan State University. “Most visitors don’t realize those exist. They think campus is off limits,” she said.

Along with the attractions on campus, Michigan State University is helping keep the local economy stable.  Eric Sudol of the East Lansing Marriott at University Place said the university is an “economic driver.”

In addition to places to visit, local events such as the East Lansing Art Festival and Summer Solstice Jazz Festival are put on annually.

“The East Lansing Art Festival is a local tradition and also attracts visitors from other communities,” said Arts Program Coordinator Corrin VanWyck “It only happens once a year and tens of thousands of patrons make it a priority to attend annually.”

This year, Gov. Rick Snyder proposed and signed a legislation to add $ 10 million to the legislature’s current Pure Michigan budget of $15 million.

This additional funding has not impacted the GLCVB.

Their 2011 budget was finalized in December 2010. “We are a non-profit organization and do not receive any state funds,” said Padot “The GLCVB is funded through a marketing assessment tax that visitors pay when they stay at local hotels.”

East Lansing is a location where visitors are booking hotel stays throughout the year.

“In the spring it dies down, but it’s still busy,” Said Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center representative Roby Zahm.

Local hotels provide different amenities to cater to tourist staying in East Lansing. The Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center has a “unique cultural atmosphere and convenient access to sporting activities and Lansing area attractions.”

Annual conferences are held in East Lansing as well.

The Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center is home to Kaleidoscope conference, which occurs yearly.

Budget is important to such events as well as with the East Lansing Art Festival. However, the Pure Michigan ad campaign does not have a direct correlation with their funds.

“The East Lansing Art Festival must raise the needed funds each and every year to maintain our programming and to be able to continue to provide the festival as a free service to the public.” Said VanWyck “The Pure Michigan ad campaign will not be a factor in evaluation of our budget, although we hope it will bring more visitors.”

As well as public events and hotels holding conferences, the East Lansing Hannah Community Center holds banquets and meetings for graduation and open house, birthday parties, and annual holiday parties.

East Lansing has both locals and visitors roaming the city throughout the year. Weekends, however, especially during fall, are when East Lansing experiences high volumes of visitors. “Parents will come to visit for the first time or there will be campus visits,” Said Zahm.

The fall is also notorious for bringing in the most visitors because of “Football games ,” said Zahm “we’re already sold out for next year’s games.”

Football games bring many returning faces to hotels in the area. The East Lansing Marriott is devoted to maintaining its returning customers, however, Sudol said,” we do track new customers and businesses.”

Business, events, attractions, conferences, parents, students, alumnus, and locals continue to support East Lansing, in hopes to rebuild the state’s overall economy.

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