Summer tourism forecast for Leelanau

 Beach Grasses by AraceIn Tourism view: ‘Soft, not disaster”, the Leelanau Enterprise takes a look at summer tourism forecasts for our area from MSU tourism expert and professor emeritus Don Holecek. Holecek (whose full report can be seen through Absolute Michigan) said:

“Where there’ll be some impact is on the ‘weekend travelers,’ who will try to find ways of coping with the high gas prices,” Holecek explained.

Instead of coming up every weekend— the “weekenders” will come up fewer times, but stay longer to avoid the additional travel cost.

“The impact on lodging and restaurants shouldn’t be that noticeable,” he said. “Volume will be down 1 to 2 percent; spending will be even or down a little from last year and prices will be 4 to 5 percent higher.”

The article looks at special offeres from Leelanau State Park (free storage of camping trailers, motor homes, boat and trailer and other recreational vehicles) and measures others are taking to increase business.

Photo credit:  Beach Grasses by Arace

1 reply
  1. Jim
    Jim says:

    Interesting perspective but seems to me you can ask a few of the locals like Tim Barr and get as good, or better, of a barometer than an “expert” from Lansing. Many people, including me, are still sitting on prime rental weeks left open in our cottages. Our Lake Michigan beach front cottage summer weeks used to fill up by January. This year we have half of July still open.

    I would say that we are getting 10% of the internet traffic we used to get. I would summarize it this way…we now get fewer internet inquires (i.e, people asking to rent) each month than we used to get in a single day!

    I think the effect is much more severe than Don’s assessment of only a 1 or 2% drop-off. If we don’t have people staying in our places, they aren’t eating in your restaurants, shopping in your shops, or spending money.

    So we aren’t paying the cleaning person as often. Maybe we can save a little dough by eliminating maintenance. Does the septic tank have to be pumped-out every summer? Does the carpet look good enough to skip the steam cleaning? Maybe we can get a year or two more before we paint, replace the deck, update the bathroom, etc. And the yard can also be cut less frequently. If enough people do NOT do some of these things-it wont be long before the impact starts to be felt.

    We have three places – currently one of the cottages must be winterized each Fall. But this year is very different. Because of the slow pace of rentals, I am planning to winterize all three this year to save on the high utility bills. And,I also wont need to pay to have the driveway plowed, or buy fire wood.

    I have spoken to people that are hurting downstate and now are getting pinched on their cottage as well. A double hit.

    I realize that folks that live Upnorth don’t always love the tourists but they do pay the bills. The economical watershed that even one rental cottage provides is way bigger than I ever imagined, until we started renting our summer cottages. Its big, really big. Renters, in general, eat out more often than locals or summer residents, they buy their groceries locally at the smaller stores like the IGA in GA, instead of driving to TC. They, in a word, “splurge” more often…How do I know? I know because I do it when I am there. I used to always buy something fun for our kids at the Totem Shop knowing FULL well that the same junkie cap pistol can be bought at a downstate drug-store toy isle for a third of the cost.

    And with a rental cottage, owners aren’t usually in position to bargain much about the cost of repairing something during the summer season. A leaking pipe, fridge on the fritz, or non-functioning dishwasher – must get fixed right away, before the new renters arrive! Cost is secondary to speed. so more money may be spent but that is not as important as getting someone to correct the problem quickly.

    Like everyone, I’m tired of down-state newspaper articles that constantly spew nothing but doom and gloom, and splash bad news everywhere, but this time I think the MSU prof’s assessment is off the mark.

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