SAVANNAH, GA –Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, has been named national State Tourism Director of the Year for 2023.
“Dave is a tremendous steward of Michigan’s diverse and thriving travel industry,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman. “His dynamic approach to marketing the Great Lakes State has been highly successful, creating meaningful benefits for the economy and people of Michigan in an increasingly competitive domestic travel market.”
Lorenz was announced as the honoree before more than 1,000 destination marketing professionals at the U.S. Travel Association’s annual Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) conference, the premier annual gathering for destination and tourism leaders, held this year in Savannah, GA. U.S. Travel’s National Council of State Tourism Directors—a body representing the official tourism offices of all states and U.S. territories—votes on the award annually ahead of ESTO.
Since taking the helm of Michigan’s destination marketing organization in July 2015, Lorenz guided the state’s tourism industry through a significant revitalization, spotlighting Michigan’s inclusive spirit through innovative marketing campaigns, fostering community engagement and leading efforts to increase accessible travel options—all while generating an impressive return-on-investment for the state.
Lorenz successfully pivoted Travel Michigan’s marketing strategy in 2022, promoting more experiences amid the highly competitive post-pandemic domestic leisure travel surge. An outside study found that Travel Michigan advertising influenced nearly 2.1 million leisure trips to the state in 2022, generating $3.1 billion in total spending and more than $195 million in state tax revenue. These marketing activities yielded an 11:1 return on investment—the highest in Travel Michigan’s history.
“As we continue to highlight the tremendous opportunity Michigan offers as a destination to live, work and visit for families of all backgrounds, the work to market the state through the Pure Michigan campaign and efforts of the Travel Michigan team has been critical to changing perceptions and welcoming all people to our state,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “Dave’s passion for the industry and his love for Michigan have helped to guide Pure Michigan into a nationally recognized brand bringing economic impact across both of our beautiful Michigan peninsulas.”
Notably, Lorenz is an industry-leading advocate for increasing accessibility for visitors and residents alike. Travel Michigan invested in developing a website promoting accessible travel options in the state, and recently launched a grant program to encourage local destinations to improve accessibility for disabled travelers.
Community engagement has been central to Lorenz’s recent success in promoting the unique culture and offerings of the Great Lakes State. Lorenz has prioritized using Michigan-based musicians in the organization’s commercials and digital media, as well as using local voices in advertising campaigns.
Lorenz is also a leader in the sustainable travel space, championing the expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure across Michigan.
Lorenz serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Travel Association and as Chair of Great Lakes USA and Cruise the Great Lakes. He is also on the Board of Directors for Michigan Cares for Tourism, Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, MotorCities National Heritage Area, West Michigan Tourism Association, Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Grand Rapids Hotel Advisory Board.
Previously, Lorenz was the manager of partnerships and promotions for Meijer, Inc., and spent 14 years in radio broadcasting.
Candidates for State Tourism Director of the Year are nominated by state and territory tourism directors. A slate of three finalists is presented annually for selection by ballot.