We know that Michigan’s tourism industry is a leader in our state’s economy and that its success generates positive benefits throughout local businesses and communities. The more we can do to encourage expansion of our tourism markets the faster our economy and job opportunities will grow.
As the Chair of the Senate Committee on Outdoor Recreation & Tourism, I support giving our tourism industry the same incentives, regulatory reforms and funding as other top-tier state industries.
This industry also depends on quality roads and infrastructure. West Michigan deserves an equitable distribution of state and federal infrastructure resources to help grow our economy. We’ve increased funding for our roads and bridges by directing more than $220 million in new money for roads without raising revenue. We are directing that money to repair the roads and bridges that are priorities for our communities.
I’ve also been a consistent supporter of the Pure Michigan advertising campaign that has helped support Michigan’s tourism industry through the recession. We’ve helped boost jobs in this important industry by approving $25 million in funding for Pure Michigan. Pure Michigan is credited for drawing millions of visitors to Michigan who are spending over $1 billion. The state takes in nearly $6.00 in taxes for every dollar spent on the campaign.
Equally important is to make sure Michigan maintains access to our harbors and lakes. I led legislative efforts in the senate to provide critical dredging funding and state regulatory relief to keep Michigan’s ports and harbors accessible and navigable. We accelerated funding for dredging projects to address critical, time-sensitive needs to open up access to our harbors and lakes.
Last summer, I completed the inaugural “Hansen Hotspots” tour through my senate district. The day-long tour was a series of stops at a variety of locations to promote local tourism assets and agri-tourism-related small businesses that offer a Pure Michigan experience. We used primarily non-motorized transportation, i.e. bikes, boats, kayaks, walk, to spotlight the great amenities in west Michigan. It was an honor to help promote all of the wonderful amenities and local businesses who are contributing to the success of our local economy.