KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan and Pure Michigan, is confident tourism will return.
He said state parks and trails will re-open, and life will return to ‘some sort of regularity.'
However, right now, everyone must remain indoors even though they miss the outdoors, he said.
“It’s interesting to me we’ve always kind of seen the travel and tourism industry as being kind of the Rodney Dangerfield industry, no respect for our industry,” Lorenz said during a Zoom interview Wednesday morning. “But, isn’t it interesting now, what are we missing more than ever? I think we’re missing a sense of control and we’re missing those connections.”
So Lorenz suggested people connect indoors with their family and friends. It’s what Travel Michigan employees are seen doing in their latest campaign video called Two Peninsulas, 1 Pure Michigan.
“The main purpose is to suggest and encourage unity. If there’s ever been a time when we need to come together as a people, it’s right now,” Lorenz said. “I mean we need to celebrate the fact that we live in this beautiful place even though we’re staying home to keep others safe right now.”
Since the governor’s stay-at-home executive order went into effect on March 24, the tourism industry has suffered, he said. Many employees were laid off as state parks and trails were closed.
However, they’ve been making nature virtual and accessible to everyone in a variety of different ways, from doing tours, offering classes at the Detroit Zoo to watching the butterflies bloom at Meijer Gardens, he said.
Lorenz hopes it spurs people to want to go outdoors, he said.
“I will tell you, I’m recommending that people start making their bookings right now because when we’re allowed to travel, there’s going to be this huge pent up demand,” Lorenz said. “There always is this time of year. It’s cabin fever time.”
Lorenz added that next week, during National Travel and Tourism Week, Pure Michigan will put on a series of concerts and a webcast/variety show that’ll include players from both the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers.
They’re also raising money for hospitality workers who’ve been financially hurt and displaced by the pandemic.
Nevertheless, they’re focus is on re-opening as soon as the order is lifted.
“We’re all a little tired of virtual everything. Pretty soon we’re going to have real everything,” Lorenz said. “Let’s plan now and look forward to those really great times with family and friends in Pure Michigan soon.”
***Note: If you’d like to know more about the fundraiser, click here***