• Michigan Cares for Tourism Plans 10th Anniversary Event

     
    POSTED September 6, 2022
     
    Photo credit: Patty Janes
  • Michigan Cares for Tourism Plans 10th Anniversary Event

     
    POSTED September 6, 2022
     
    Photo credit: Patty Janes
  • Michigan Cares for Tourism Plans 10th Anniversary Event

     
    POSTED September 6, 2022
     
    Photo credit: Patty Janes
  • Michigan Cares for Tourism Plans 10th Anniversary Event

     
    POSTED September 6, 2022
     
    Photo credit: Patty Janes
  • Michigan Cares for Tourism Plans 10th Anniversary Event

     
    POSTED September 6, 2022
     
    Photo credit: Patty Janes

Tourism is obviously important to Michigan’s hospitality industry, which depends on residents as well as visitors to travel around the state utilizing lodging and meeting spaces, dining at restaurants, and visiting attractions.

In appreciation, the industry has been giving back for the past 10 years—which is how long it’s been since the Michigan Cares for Tourism effort was launched. In that time, some 3,500 volunteers representing CVBs, hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, and related industries have provided $1 million in volunteer labor and supplies with boots on the ground improving Michigan’s historic, cultural, and natural attractions.

The initiative was spearheaded by Grand Valley State University professor of hospitality and tourism management Patty Janes, modeled after the national nonprofit Tourism Cares. 

The first Michigan event was held at the Waterloo State Recreation Area in Chelsea, where the group will gather for a reunion on Sept. 11 to mark the initiative’s 10th anniversary. Then, on Tuesday, Sept. 12, they’ll be working at Cambridge Junction Historic State Park in Brooklyn.

“It has beautiful historic buildings we’re going to work on—we have about 15 different projects we’re going to help them with,” Janes says. 

About 100 volunteers are expected to participate. They’ll be building a mini stage for the musical groups that perform at Cambridge Junction and working on connecting trails. A vintage baseball team will play at the park and the volunteers will be improving game signage. They’ll also paint fencing.

“We’ll be rebuilding picnic tables,” Janes adds. “The tables there really need some help. ... The ultimate goal is that people who visit will have a better experience as a result of the work.”

Another event Oct. 7 has the group gathering at Oakhill Cemetery in Grand Rapids. Janes says they’ll be doing some building restoration, working on landscaping, and cleaning tombstones so they’ll be more readable.

Because of COVID-19, volunteers in 2021 divided into smaller groups and worked on nine outdoor projects over 30 days across the state. 

All of the efforts serve to unify the industry while providing a public service and infrastructure improvements, Janes says. Supplies are covered by participants’ sign-up fees and other donations, often helping compensate for lack of available local funding.

“It creates a synergy across disciplines … you’ve got CVB people working with a restaurateur working with a hotelier, and all from different geographies,” Janes says. “So we build a stronger community, a stronger network.”

Besides, she adds, moving it around to different parts of the state helps expose volunteers to areas they might not have visited before. 

“We have found tourism industry people started traveling back to these places,” says Janes.

To learn more, visit michigancaresfortourism.com.

MACVB Annual Educational Conference finally reaches the shores of Mackinac Island.

As I rode in the carriage from the Shepler’s Ferry terminal to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, my mind wandered to a scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” In said scene, King Arthur and his sidekick, Patsy, approach a castle while galloping and banging coconuts together. After a few moments passed and my mind wandered back to the tree-lined streets of the island, I realized it was the clippety-clop of the draft horses pulling our carriage that brought on my thoughts of Python.

 

Ever wanted to stay in a treehouse? Greg Filipek and Brian Coates have just the place for you.

The partners built a 508-square-foot luxury “treehouse” on a six-acre parcel they’re calling Tree Vistas resort near Ionia where they hope to eventually add up to two more similar units. The design is all about bringing the outside in, with construction involving very little removal of the trees that were already there.

“The house was designed uniquely around the trees,” Filipek says. “We actually only had to cut down one tree—otherwise we wouldn’t have fit our bathroom in.

 

When Mary Chris Hotchkiss attended an event near Petoskey in March 2022, she was enchanted.

“I remember thinking as I was leaving that someday this would be a great place to work,” she says.

Someday is here. Hotchkiss was recently named new group sales director for the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau.