Michigan Increases Competitiveness as a Destination for Large Special Events

Michelle Begnoche

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has established a new fund to attract national and multi-state events, conventions and conferences

LANSING – The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has established a new fund to attract national and multi-state events, conventions and conferences – and the out-of-state travelers they bring in – to Michigan. The large special events fund will give Michigan communities an added competitive advantage when competing with other cities nationally to host major events. 

“We are joining with our local partners to raise Michigan’s profile as destination for large events, such as national conferences, conventions and sporting events, while addressing the disadvantages they currently face in today’s competitive market,” said Michael A Finney, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “By bringing in large numbers of out-of-state visitors associated with these events we can help our travel industry grow while showcasing Michigan to a broad audience.” 

The MEDC has committed $500,000 for the fund through the end of the current fiscal year, and $1 million in each of the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years. The fund will be administered by the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, however all convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs) in Michigan will have the ability to apply for support in attraction efforts through the fund. 

Events must meet certain criteria to be considered for the attraction fund, including they be multi-state or national in scope, have regular attendance of more than 1,500 people, have a duration of at least 2.5 days and that they not have been hosted in Michigan during the previous calendar year. Additionally, at least 50 percent of the dollars expected to be spent in Michigan during the event must come from non-Michigan businesses or residents. 

“We applaud the MEDC for supporting this large special events fund and recognizing that major conventions and events are a critical economic engine for Michigan,” said Larry Alexander, president and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Now, the bar has been raised and Michigan is solidly able to compete for large scale hosting opportunities with more of a competitive advantage than in the past.” 

A committee is currently being established with representatives from several statewide destination marketing organizations to evaluate and recommend which projects meet the qualifications for these funds. 

“While incentives have been a part of the bidding process for many groups in the past, it has now become common ground and most large national conventions and special events require some sort of subsidy to be awarded the business,” said Doug Small, president of Experience Grand Rapids. “We are thankful that the MEDC understands the value of visitor expenditures that bring new money into our state, which not only builds the tax base, but increases revenue for small businesses while retaining and creating jobs – pure economic development.” 

When considering where to hold a major event or conference, organizers often require a monetary guarantee from potential hosts to demonstrate financial capability and commitment to host such an event. Without access to capital to provide those commitments, Michigan communities are at a disadvantage when competing to land major events or conferences. The large special events fund provides access to that capital through a competitive process. 

The Detroit Metro CVB will report to the MEDC at the end of each fiscal year providing a detailed use of the funds for that year, commitments to future events and estimates of return on investment by the state and the region from committed events. 

Pure Michigan is a brand on the rise, representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead agency for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy. 

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.