Tourism numbers in Mason County break recent records. 

November 5, 2019

Tourism numbers in Mason County break recent records. 

Tourism in Mason County generated $111.7 million in 2018, a record high over an eight-year span tracked by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

According to the MEDC’s 2018 Economic Impact of Tourism in Michigan report, 124.8 million visitors spent $25.7 billion in Michigan in 2018. In the County Analysis report, visitors spent $117.4 million in Mason County alone in 2018, an increase of 3.3 percent from 2017 ($113.7 million) and 19.7 percent from five years ago ($98.2 million in 2013). Visitor spending increased 32.5 percent since the MEDC started tracking visitor spending in this annual report in 2011.

The tourism industry also is responsible for 1,081 direct jobs and 1,549 indirect jobs in Mason County, generating $26.9 million in direct annual wages and $43 million in total labor income – an increase of 6.2% from 2017.

“Clearly, Ludington continues to be at the top of travelers’ vacation destinations,” said Brandy Miller, executive director of the Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “And as these numbers show, the impact of tourism is felt across our county’s economy – by hotels and restaurants, parks and museums, and grocery stores and gas stations.”

The MEDC report also tracks visitor spending in five categories, listed below in order by visitor spending in 2018:

  1. Transportation at $31.3 (up from $30.3 million in 2017)
  2. Food and beverage at $31.1 (up from $30.5 million in 2017)
  3. Lodging at $21.8 (up from $20.8 million in 2017)
  4. Recreation at $18.4 million (up from $17.4 million in 2017)
  5. Retail at $14.9 (up from $14.8 million in 2017)

Noting the tourism industry’s importance to the county and to more accurately market the Ludington region to visitors, the Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (LACVB) commissioned a first-time, comprehensive visitor profile study during the summer of 2019 to identify the typical Ludington area summer visitor, along with key motivators to visit the region. The LACVB will share findings of the survey at the Ludington & Scottville Chamber’s Nov. 22 Lunch & Learn program at Red’s Room at Jamesport Brewing Co. Members of Ludington’s business community are encouraged to attend to learn about Ludington’s typical summer visitor to help with marketing planning for 2020. Those interested in attending can RSVP here and at

“With tourism as a top industry of Mason County that directly impacts our economy at every level, it’s important to understand our target visitor so we can more accurately market to them and encourage more people to choose Ludington for their vacation destination,” said Miller. “We are excited to share this data to help our business partners be even more successful in attracting guests.”

Conducted over the course of two survey waves in July and August, an intercept survey was administered by tourism research and marketing company Destination Analysts at 16 locations to people visiting Ludington. The final report’s conclusions were based on 500 completed surveys collected from four groups of summer visitors: hotel guests, visitors staying in the private home of a friend or relative, day visitors, and visitors camping or staying in an RV park.

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