Master Planning for Tourism in Michigan

Master Planning for Tourism in Michigan

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Master Planning for Tourism in Michigan (10 MB) 

Master Planning for Tourism in Michigan is a resource document for communities that seek to identify their unique tourism assets; find ways to balance economic opportunity with quality of life; and protect their valuable assets from being loved to death. 

Promotion and management of tourism lies squarely within local government’s duty to plan and control land use to safeguard public health, safety, and welfare. This guide has been created to help elected and appointed municipal leaders and their professional staff understand how to incorporate community-driven tourism into their master plans. It also provides guidance on how to work with tourism industry professionals to plan for tourism that supports the community’s economy and quality of life while protecting and enhancing the unique cultural and natural assets that attract these visitors.

This document will help elected and appointed officials and planners:
1. Understand how the tourism industry operates
2. Identify the economic benefits and impacts of tourism in their community
3. Find useful tools and practices to incorporate community-driven tourism approaches into their master plan

To create this resource, MAP engaged with tourism professionals and local officials in coastal regions throughout the state, using a combination of surveys, interviews and focus groups. In addition, the project team researched the tourism literature and searched for plans and case studies that would provide direction for Michigan communities.

In the end, this project identified a gap between traditional tourism marketing efforts and the master plans for economic development, land use, and public infrastructure that provide communities with the foundation for a beneficial tourism economy. This guide is a first attempt to close the gap. 

Tourism Planning Resources

Demystifying Tourism Planning - MAP Conference presentation, Andy Northrop, Nate Heffron and Wendy Rampson (2020)

Sustainable Tourism

Assessing the Potential for Sustainable Ecotourism in Alger County, Scott Jordan, PhD and David Kronk (2016) 

Tourism Asset Mapping

Mapping and Managing Natural and Cultural Assets – Sustainable Heritage Areas: Partnerships for Ecotourism (2017) 

Rural Tourism Asset Map: Henry, Rural Rock Island, Mercer (IL) Counties (2014)

Tourism Training Programs

Balancing Nature and Commerce Program - The Nature Conservancy 

First Impressions: Assessing Your Community for Tourism Program - Michigan State University Extension 

Leave No Trace - Center for Outdoor Ethics 

Sustainable Tourism Training Program - Global Sustainable Tourism Council 

Understanding Tourism for Michigan Communities - Michigan State University Extension 

Michigan Resources

Grand Haven Area Convention and Visitors Bureau webpages:

Sustainable Coastal Tourism Development in Northeast Michigan, Laura Johnson and Brandon Schroeder (2012) 

Michigan State University Extension Tourism website

Michigan Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (2018)  

Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan (2015)  

Michigan’s Travel Industry/Pure Michigan webpages:

Ecotourism on the Sunrise Coast

US-23 Heritage Route webpage

Example Plans

Charleston (SC) Tourism Management Plan 

Colorado Springs & the Pikes Peak (CO) Region Destination Master Plan 

Juneau (AK) Long Range Tourism Master Plan and Tourism Best Management Practices  

Kaua’i Kakuo (HI) General Plan 

Topeka (KS) Historic Preservation Plan

Sedona (AZ) Sustainable Tourism Plan and implementation website