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Governor invites Chinese travelers to visit Pure Michigan for cultural, recreational fun

Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013

SHANGHAI – Gov. Rick Snyder today participated in a tourism forum to introduce Pure Michigan to the Chinese tourism market and encourage Chinese travelers to include Michigan in their visits to the United States.

“With the continued success of Pure Michigan across the United States, it is exciting to take this next step in our international marketing efforts and introduce Chinese travelers to the natural beauty and cultural destinations Michigan has to offer,” Snyder said. “Chinese travel around the world, and here to the United States, is growing rapidly, making this the perfect time to establish a presence for Pure Michigan in China.”

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1.5 million Chinese visited the United States in 2012, up 35 percent from 2011. Chinese visitors spent $8.8 billion on their trips to the U.S. last year. Thousands of Chinese visitors come to Michigan each year for business, to attend universities and to visit family members. This effort will, in part, encourage those travelers to extend those trips and explore Michigan as a vacation destination as well.

Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., will work with tour operators, travel media and other industry partners to raise the profile of Michigan as a vacation destination for Chinese travelers. Partnerships with entities including Brand USA and Delta Air Lines will reinforce these efforts.

“Starting out, our goal is to get Michigan included in the U.S. travel packages offered by Chinese tour operators, as well to invite top Chinese travel media to visit Michigan and experience its vast offerings as a travel destination firsthand,” said George Zimmermann, vice president of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Michigan experiences that will be highlighted include the state’s access to the Great Lakes and its freshwater coastline, its automotive heritage, including attractions like The Henry Ford; golf opportunities at more than 800 public courses, resort areas including Mackinac Island and Traverse City, and the arts, culture and sports in major cities including Detroit, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.

The governor, who was joined by Zimmermann for the forum in Shanghai, will participate in a similar tourism forum and press event in Beijing on Sept. 10.

Pure Michigan’s entry into the Chinese market is a result of an additional $4 million in funding allocated for the campaign in Fiscal Year 2014. In addition to entering the Chinese travel market, Pure Michigan will expand its efforts in Ontario, Canada; Germany and Great Britain. It also will enter the Japanese market.

Today’s event was part of Snyder’s 10-day investment mission in China and Japan, where he and a Michigan delegation are meeting with Chinese and Japanese government officials and major company executives to promote business opportunities in Michigan and to develop pathways for increasing Michigan exports to the country.

This is Snyder’s sixth mission since taking office. He traveled to Israel in June to increase bilateral trade and investments, academic cooperation and strengthen Michigan’s relationship with the state of Israel. He opened the Michigan Trade Center and met with business leaders in Toronto and met with Canadian government officials in Ottawa in November 2012. He led a 10-day trade mission to China in September 2012, a seven-day mission to Italy and Germany in March 2012 and an eight-day trade mission to Japan, China and Korea in September 2011.