Published November 1, 2005 | November 2005 issue
The Upper Peninsula is seeing a slow summer tourism season, according to early indicators reported by the U.P. Travel and Recreation Association, and most of the drop is tied in one way or another to the car.
Most travelers to the U.P.—and, importantly, those spending the most money—typically come from outside the U.P., and high gas prices have made those long car trips less attractive. The association also noted that 70 percent of travelers come from lower Michigan, and the state's economy has been slumping badly from a struggling auto sector.
Not everyone in the U.P. was experiencing a tough tourism season, however. Officials indicated that areas across the Mackinac Bridge—which connects lower and upper Michigan—and other nearby destinations have seen a decent summer tourism season. Still, the Mackinac Bridge Authority reported a 1.2 percent drop in vehicle crossings compared to last year. Some individual events also fared well, including Finn Grand Fest, a celebration of Finnish culture, which drew a reported 5,000 people to Marquette from across the country and Canada.
—Ronald A. Wirtz