The more I travel—and the longer I edit this magazine—the more I appreciate convention and visitors bureaus. They are staffed with people who know their area inside and out, and are passionately committed to supporting and promoting it. In Michigan, in particular, we've needed voices telling our story to a country that often had it wrong. Our CVBs have done as much as anyone to do so and to turn our state’s fortunes around and attract the enthusiasm and investment that we need.

The Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau is one of the hardest working bureaus in the state. And their efforts pay off—more than 4.8 million visitors travel to the Greater Lansing region each year, generating more than $602 million in economic impact.

If you haven’t been lately, now is as good a time as any, and the bureau can help you with its recently has released 2017 Greater Lansing Visitor Guide.

This free yearly publication offers maps, and information about dining, shopping and attractions. Visitor Guides are distributed at Michigan Welcome Centers, local hotels, visiting meetings and conventions, sports tournaments and other high-traffic locations.

Lansing-based photographer Thomas Gennara shot the 84-page guide’s photography. Each section provides top things visitors might want to know, including:

  • 5 free things to do in Lansing
  • 5 places your kids will love
  • 5 unique restaurants that foodies will love

Visitor Guides are available in both print and digital format and can be ordered or downloaded at lansing.org.

“Beer City USA” mixes business and pleasure at meeting venues large and small.

Headquarters to more than 130 international companies—including such global giants as Amway, Steelcase and Herman Miller—and home to Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Michigan’s second largest city, Grand Rapids, ranks as a natural destination for corporate gatherings. What’s more, the city’s reputation as a center for fine and performing arts, outdoor recreation and craft beer lures plenty of leisure travelers as well. 

 

Options for unconventional seasonal gatherings abound across the state. 

From cities teeming with bright lights to snowy small towns, Michigan is a winter wonderland. If you’re looking for a way to make your event or post-event outing more festive, consider these unique holiday offerings. 

Peacock Road Family Farm 

Laingsburg

 

After 36 years as director of the CVB, Peter Fitzsimons is retiring. By Shelley Levitt

In 1985, Peter Fitzsimons, a former hotel general manager, became the executive director of the newly formed Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau. He never left. In June, the 73-year-old Detroit native announced that he’d be stepping down from the role at the end of the year. 

MIM+E: When did you begin your career in hospitality?