USA Today: Detroit will lead nation for visitor growth

USA Today Friday reported TravelClick estimates that Detroit will lead the nation in travel growth over the next 12 months, predicting a 22 percent increase in occupancy rates between now and Sept. 30, 2012.

“We’re well ahead of the curve from a national improvement standpoint,” Thomas Conran, principal of Greenwood Hospitality Group, owner of The Henry hotel in Dearborn (the former Ritz-Carlton) told USA Today. “There’s an energy that this hotel has not seen for many, many years.”

Conran credited the increase in volume to Michigan’s economic recovery, the renewed strength of the state’s auto industry, to the state’s Pure Michigan campaign and to the recent strength of Detroit’s resurgent sports teams. Meanwhile, at a Minnesota jobs summit, opinion leaders suggested one possible way to fuel their own economic growth might be to come up with their own version of Michigan’s efforts to extend the Pure Michigan brand to market Michigan.

Minnesota House Majority Leader Rep. Matt Dean, the only Republican lawmaker at the summit, said Minnesota needs a “unified brand image” like Pure Michigan to bring business and government under a common theme to market their state to the world the way Michigan has.