Hotel Online Special Report

 Visitor Volume Up  in 1998, but Visitor Spending Decreased 2% According to the Metropolitan Detroit Convention  Visitors Bureau
Revised Work Rules Allow Cobo Conference & Exhibition Center to be More Comptetitive
DETROIT, May 13, 1999 -  Metropolitan Detroit played host to 16.2 million visitors in 1998, up slightly from 1997, the Metropolitan Detroit Convention Visitors Bureau (MDCVB) announced today (Thursday, May 13) at its "Destination 2000," a forum highlighting how casinos and the region's many other new developments will impact area businesses. 

Visitor volume rose 1.25 percent over 1997 when 16 million visitors came to Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, according to preliminary numbers contained in the 1998 Tourism Market Profile Study, conducted for the Bureau by CIC Research. The steady increase in tourist numbers correlates directly to the healthy economy and low unemployment, said Larry Alexander, acting president and CEO of the MDCVB. 

"Additionally, the region is continuing to add new visitor attractions such as Great Lakes Crossing, and enhancing the quality of local events such as the North American International Auto Show and the Woodward Dream Cruise," he said. "These improvements to our tourism portfolio are certainly drawing new visitors and we can expect the numbers to continue to rise as more tourism products come on line in the next few years." 

While visitor volume rose in 1998, visitor spending decreased slightly from the previous year. Visitors spent $4 billion in the local economy in 1998 compared to $4.1 billion in 1997, a two percent decrease. Spending last year still remained significantly higher than it did throughout most of the decade. Alexander said the slight slide in spending is not surprising given a number of factors. 

"The number of visitors from states throughout the Midwest, including Michigan, increased in 1998 over 1997 while international visitors -- those who would likely spend more on their trip -- decreased," he said. "That may be in large part because the origin market for the majority of our international visitors is Canada which has continued to experience a serious decline in the value of its dollar compared to U.S. currency. Therefore, its residents have had less motivation to travel to U.S. destinations." 

He added that the average number of nights stayed by overnight visitors in metro Detroit declined in 1998, consistent with the national trend, which also accounts for the decrease in spending. Another factor that may have played a role is the August 1998 Northwest Airlines strike -- responsible for the loss of both visitors and visitor spending during its duration. 

Overall, visitor counts have cumulatively climbed 42 percent and visitor spending has increased 24 percent since 1992 when the first tourism market profile of the region was conducted for the MDCVB. 

The majority of the $4 billion spent in metro Detroit by visitors was spent on the area's two most popular visitor activities -shopping ($1.2 billion) followed by dining ($1.1 billion). Approximately $720 million was spent on lodging, $392 million on ground transportation and $302 million on entertainment and recreation. 

Following shopping and dining, the top five most visited attractions by tourists were the Renaissance Center, Henry Ford Museum Greenfield Village, Greektown, conventions/events held at Cobo Conference Exhibition Center and the Somerset Collection. 

The percentage of visitors coming to metro Detroit for vacation or to visit friends and relatives rose in 1998 -- at 79 percent compared to 74 percent in 1997. Visitors to metro Detroit on business trips or attending meetings and conventions dipped to 17 percent in 1998, from 21 percent the previous year. 

Of the region's 16.2 million total visitors, 10.2 million were overnight visitors and 6 million were day visitors. The majority of the overnight visitors -- 7.2 million -- stayed in private homes while three million stayed in hotels and motels. 

The largest market for overnight visitors was Michigan residents from outside the tri-county area. Michigan residents accounted for nearly 1.3 million -- or 12.5 percent -- of the 10.2 million overnight visitors. Midwestern states, including Michigan, generated the majority of visitors in 1998 at 39 percent, compared to 32 percent in 1997. International visitors represented 13 percent of the total overnight visitor count, down from 16 percent in 1997. 

Tourism spending directly generated 69,000 jobs in the tri-county area in 1998. 

Revised Work Rules Allow Cobo Conference & Exhibition Center to be More Comptetitive 
January 7, 1999 - Detroit Mayor Dennis W. Archer today announced major revisions to labor work rules at Cobo Conference & Exhibition Center that will make the center more competitive with other cities in terms of securing convention business and major tradeshows. 

The new labor pact will ease union restrictions, thereby giving Cobo Center the opportunity to operate more efficiently and become more cost competitive in the national and international convention and tradeshow industry. 

"With all of the new and coming development in the city, there is no better time than now for Detroit to position itself as one of the nation's great convention and tradeshow cities," said Mayor Archer. "These revised work 
rules will put us on par, and in some respects allow us to surpass, many of our competitors. Convention business is also essential to driving our local economy, adding millions of dollars each year to local businesses." 

Nancy Berg, director of Expositions for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, which brings over 1,000 companies and some 25,000 participants to events in Detroit said, "These union work rule changes are the key to 
Detroit's success as a convention destination. As a top ten trade show producer, our role in this process has been to represent the thousands of exhibiting companies and dozens of tradeshows held at Cobo Center." 

She added, "We are proud to be a contributor to Detroit's revitalization and these changes help to position Detroit as the right destination, making our current and future exhibitors happy to do business here." 

Among the improvements that the new agreement allows are more flexibility with shift work, flexible work rules, more competitive rules on straight time and on double time rules for labor, and more competitive uniform breaks.

Metropolitan Detroit 
Convention Visitors Bureau
Renee Monforton or Michelle Fusco
Also See: MGM Grand Detroit Casino Seeking 2,000 New Employees for Temporary Casino Opening in Late Summer / March 1999 
Metro Detroit Tourism Grew 6 Percent in 1997, Says Metropolitan Detroit Convention Visitors Bureau / April 1998 

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.Online Search
Back to Hotel.Online Press Releases
Home | Welcome! | Hospitality News | Classifieds | Catalogs & Pricing | Viewpoint Forum | Ideas/Trends
Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.