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Michigan 2022 tourism snapshot shows growth in some mid-Michigan cities

Aaron Burden

Fall tourism is on an upswing in Mount Pleasant.

The Mount Pleasant Visitor's Bureau has heard only good things from businesses this season, said Claire Doty, marketer with the travel organization.

It might be because of how the pandemic had people cooped up, she said.

“People are just craving the need to get outside and do more things," Doty said. "Since then, we’ve seen an increase in people just wanting to travel, and people actually using up their vacation time. They realize that’s valuable time to actually use and not just put on the backburner and save it for later.”

Up north, Mackinac Island was a hot tourist destination during the pandemic because of its outdoor activities. Now, Stephanie Castelein, events and marketing coordinator for Mackinac Island’s tourism bureau, said there are fewer people visiting this Fall than the last two years, but it’s more manageable for those working on the island.

They were fortunate the pandemic favored the island, but she said workers were harder to come by.

"Covid—we couldn’t get a lot of help and workers from out of the country, which put a lot of stress on our businesses with just staffing issues," Castelein said. "A lot of our staff was getting burnt out and overworked and just tired from a season in a destination location."

As the island’s travel season comes to a close, Castelein said businesses haven’t reported any staffing issues or employee burn out.

CLARIFICATION: After this story aired, WCMU received additional information from the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau. A spokesperson said that 2022 was as record revenue year for the island, though there was less foot traffic.

Ben Jodway is an intern, serving as a reporter for WCMU Public Media and the Pioneer in Big Rapids. He has covered Indigenous communities and political extremism in Michigan.