Dr. Dan McCole is an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University.  As such, he is well qualified to describe trends in Michigan tourism.
Dan began by underscoring the importance of tourism to Michigan's economy.  Tourists spend $27 Billion a year in Michigan, generating $2.8 Billion in state and local taxes.  The state is developing more and more out-of-state tourism, no doubt the result of the state's Pure Michigan campaign.
Some 240,000 are employed in tourism in Michigan.  The state's best known tourist attraction is Mackinac Island, but there are many other attractions--like the 3,000 miles of inland shoreline (second only to Alaska).  Michigan also ranks high in the number of recreational opportunities for such things as skiing, golf, boating and camping.
Sleeping Bear Dunes attracts 1.6 million visitors each year.  It received a big boost in 2011 when Good Morning America named it as the most beautiful spot in America.  Nevertheless Sleeping Bear has seen a decrease in staff and funding.
With some 400 breweries in the state Michigan is now known as a beer state.  Wineries and distilleries are also flourishing in the state.
In the Q&A following his presentation Dan discussed what Benzie County could do to attract more tourism business.  He said that Frankfort  is less dependent on fishing than in the past and noted Stormcloud's great job in bringing people in.  He also talked about the robust real estate market and the fact that many people now look for a place to live before looking for a job.