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Good news about strong local tourism

News earlier this week that tourism numbers for the area are up is welcome news indeed. According to the Alpena Convention and Visitors Bureau hotels and businesses have seen a steady stream of visitors from out of the area.

Tourism is a strong — somewhat unscientific — indicator of the economy, as more people are likely to travel when the economy is good because they probably have more disposable income.

CVB President Mary Beth Stutzman said in a News story Wednesday that there was a 23 percent increase in tourism in Alpena from 2015 and she thinks that percentage will be eclipsed in 2017. She said the CVB’s focus for promoting Alpena is out of the area, and out of state.

That means those visitors are putting additional dollars into the local economy at motels/hotels, restaurants and a variety of other businesses. They are helping the local economy grow, and the longer they are here the better it is for the area.

“When they spend three days or more is when we get our biggest return on investment,” Stutzman said. “When someone spends three days or more here it really helps places like ice cream shops, restaurants and hotels all see a significant increase in their revenue.”

The next trick is getting some of those people to move to the area and become residents. But that is an entirely different conversation.