The benefits of a strong Michigan energy industry ripple out to a wide array of other sectors, such as education, agriculture and critical community and emergency response services.
People don’t always see the connection between Michigan’s tourism and a strong energy industry as readily as they do the connections with manufacturing or agriculture. Look a little deeper, though, and you’ll see that our third-largest economic sector depends on reliable, affordable energy just as much as any other industry.
Tourism = Big Economic Benefits for Michiganders
Travel, tourism and hospitality are big businesses in Michigan, whether folks go to Ann Arbor for a football game, to Detroit to check out the growing restaurant and music scene or to the Upper Peninsula to commune with nature in the rugged outdoors.
The economic contribution of tourism and travel to Michigan is significant, especially following the economic crash of 2008. In 2014, Michigan hosted more than 113 million visitors, who spent nearly $23 billion and generated total business sales in excess of $38 billion.
Tourism, travel and hospitality support thousands of Michigan jobs. In 2015, the leisure and hospitality sector added an estimated 11,000 jobs with an additional 20,000 positions to be filled through 2017.
Electricity Reliability Critical for Tourism
People visit Michigan throughout the year, but most come in the summer and winter – when energy demand grows due to increased cooling or heating needs across the state. When you add the power needs of the many travelers visiting places like Mackinac Island or Traverse City, the strain on the system can be significant, particularly on peak demand days. This time of year, reliable energy is the difference between time outside in the cold for fun followed by ready warmth and light inside, or time in the cold because the heat isn’t working — something no one wants to experience, particularly no one who is paying for a vacation here.
In Michigan, our temperature extremes have been growing. According to the Michigan Agency for Energy, the 2016 summer was about 26 percent warmer than historical averages – and that heat led to increased consumption. And who can forget the bone-chilling polar vortex of a couple of years ago? Considering we’re home to many popular seasonal sites that make most of their money during a short span of the year, Michigan must be ready to meet fluctuating energy needs without pause to keep our tourism industry competitive.
None of the economic contributions from Michigan tourism would be possible without reliable and affordable energy. The energy policy enacted by the Michigan Legislature and Gov. Snyder in the final days of the last legislative session established important guidelines to help ensure our state can produce enough of its own energy. Now we begin the challenging but critical work of bringing those policy guidelines to fruition, updating our energy infrastructure and restoring Michigan’s critical energy capacity for decades to come.
AMP is excited to begin a new year. In 2017, we’ll continue supporting Michigan energy, made by Michiganders for Michiganders, as it powers everything we love about the state we call home.