The Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau said the summer travel season went better than the early projections at the start of the pandemic.
Northern Michigan has experienced the COVID-19 crisis differently than lower parts of the state. However, tourist communities approach another time of uncertainty as the weather begins to change.
Peter Fitz Simons is the Executive Director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau. He said July was the high point of summer travel in the Petoskey area, but travel was about 20 percent lower than previous years.
"The local economy has done pretty well given the limitations and the restrictions," he said. "The people were here and they were enjoying themselves in numbers that I didn’t expect so it was a good summer overall."
Fitz Simons said the area continues to do well with in-state tourism but did not get a lot of travel from the surrounding states including Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. He said those states usually participate in the summer season but did not due to COVID-19 concerns.
"Michigan residents are hooked on Michigan, but we miss our Canadian friends," he said. "We usually do strong business with Canadians but of course the border was closed."
Fitz Simons said he estimates travel was down by 10% from the U.S. Canadian border closure. He said it’s hard to know what the colder weather will bring but, the summer brought hope for a good fall travel season.