Michigan is still "pure" to tourists

Posted at 8:52 AM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 08:52:36-04

There's a lot of water in Pure Michigan's ads for the state - lakes, rives, boats, and swimmers accompany Tim Allen's soothing voice.

But that's not the water that's been associated with Michigan lately - the Flint water crisis has dominated news headlines about the state.

That shouldn't hurt the state's "Pure Michigan" brand, though, says Dave Lorenz, Manager of Industry Relations & International Marketing for Travel Michigan, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation - the official State of Michigan tourism promotion agency.

"I really don't anticipate that there will be harm," Lorenz said. "People understand that this is an isolated incident in a relatively small area. Michigan's a big state, people have come to know that partially because of the Pure Michigan campaign." Michigan's thousands of lakes and rivers will still draw tourists this summer, and what happened in Flint shouldn't change opinions on that water, Lorenz says.

"They know that this is a situation within piping, not within the lakes," Lorenz said. "They understand that, and they're not going to shy away from enjoying all of our natural assets because of it."

Governor Rick Snyder says the national spotlight could be good for tourism, even in Flint. "In many respects it's an opportunity to highlight Flint in a positive light," Governor Snyder said. "That's one of the things I actually talked about is the ways we can encourage more people to go to the restaurants and other things in Flint to see it and see what a good community it is."

The ad campaign doesn't have to change strategies because of the crisis, Lorenz says. "When a brand is working well, people will give that brand a little slack. They don't expect perfection," he said.